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Happy Holidays can be oxymoronic: thanksgiving in the rain

November 28th, 2004 · 1 Comment


“Happy Holidays” is oxymoronic. At least it seems that way to me many times. I know what happiness is. But I don’t often have it during the holidays.

This week I’ve been wishing I could fast-foward to February. Then again, I wouldn’t want to miss our anniversary at the end of January. But I have been joking to myself that I wish there was a pill I could pop to get me through the end of the year. Let me be Alice sliding down a rabbit hole, in some alternative reality from this one, traveling through time.

I was joking about hoping for a pill. But through Dave Winer I found this article in the New York Times: High for the Holidays

Despite the best efforts of Hallmark and television channels rebroadcasting “It’s a Wonderful Life,” holidays have long been understood to represent an interpersonal minefield for some individuals and families, as much as a time for carols and warm reminiscences around a glowing hearth.

My dissatisfaction with festivities began in childhood, soon after my parents divorced. Custody issues created complicated dances. Of course, I realized in my youth, one of the advantages of having two homes is that one enjoys two of every celebration. But I would have gladly given up two turkeys, two stockings and two birthday cakes to have had one set of parents in one home.

Other issues in my family and in myself combined for combustion. Holidays were volatile. The season became expectations and obligations I would never fulfill, an awkwardly wrapped disaster.

In recent years, through time and grace, I’ve been able to work on some of the issues inside myself. Things have improved. I started to enjoy holidays.

This year though some tense situations have complicated the season. I’ve always cried easily. The doors of my tear ducts have loose latches. But in the past few weeks if I let myself sit still long enough, I can start to sob, a sorrow that comes from somewhere inside the core of me, the feeling of a soul that has been sliced.

Thanksgiving morning found me walking around the block in the rain. I was trying to relax by myself and prepare for the holiday. Somehow the dampness was what I wanted.

It was thanksgiving and I tried to get in the mood by thinking and thanking God as I walked. I was grateful for a good pair of shoes. For a quiet morning time outside with colored leaves beneath my feet. I was grateful for the rain.

When I walk around the block with sorrow, I know only that my face is wet. the rain becomes a veil. A mist. A caress. A kiss. I feel I am not alone.

The raindrops were a gentle washing. They refreshed my face. They refreshed my faith.

I don’t think I’ll be swallowing a literal pill to survive this holiday season. No Valium or Xanax for me. Neither one is what I need. Imbibing mulled wine won’t solve my situation either. There’s no fast forward button I can push or time machine I can travel. But I do need to do something. One thing I’ll do is keep walking…and giving thanks…

Tags: journal

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Nov 28, 2004 at 2:34 pm

    That’s a stunning photo of the raindrops on the back of the leaf…and thank you for your honest thoughts about the holidays. I’m sorry it’s such a yucky time of year for you. I went for a walk on a stormy morning, too, this week. I like walking in the rain and wind.

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