i’m currently sipping crown & coke, eating Thanksgiving leftovers, watching a chick flick with my sister. and i’m happy. i really am.
but there’s still that uncomfortable ache, that grapefruit-sized knot in the pit of my stomach. and i toy with the idea of texting the ex.
several years ago, when the ex and i were still just friends, i did something to hurt his feelings. we didn’t talk for several weeks. not until the night before Thanksgiving. i had decided to stay in and watch Christmas movies. i was near the end of watching Little Women when he text to see if i would wanted some extra sweet potato casserole he’d just made. he wanted to bring me a peace offering.
this year, the night before Thanksgiving involved getting out late from work, an argument with my sister, and prepping for my own sweet potato casserole.
i cried as i peeled each one.
there’s something about the holidays, the memories we wrap around the simplest of activities. the way moving forward pulls us bak and back and ties us to days we can’t get back. watching the parade reminded me of carefree Thanksgiving mornings at my grandma’s, roasting turkey of the first Thanksgiving my friends and i shared together, and peeling sweet potatoes of a sweet man who loved me before i loved him.
this holiday was beautiful, don’t get me wrong. i was pleasantly surprised to spend a quiet afternoon with my mom’s family on Thanksgiving, followed by time with my dad’s family on Friday. there was lots of good food, contagious laughter, fun crafts, youtube video-sharing.
the absence of old traditions made room for new.
which was good, it really was. but still, i miss the old.
a person has come across my path recently that really bothers me. i mean, really bothers me. their big issue: relational immaturity. they are hard to engage, treat others i know poorly, don’t know how to have honest conversation. what’s that saying…the thing that most bothers you in others is likely the thing that is most bothersome in you? hmmm….
i’ve been pissy for the last couple weeks, this week especially. distant, edgy, sullen. i’ve had confrontation after confrontation with people i live with. had to apologize multiple times. during a conversation after class this morning, i was confronted with the reality that i project my relational issues onto others. i’ve been very sad/frustrated with my family situation during this holiday season, mostly just how broken and lonely it is, and i’ve been taking that out on my “family” here at the house.
classic example: we are having dinner at our house on Thanksgiving and any smidgen of excitement i felt weeks ago is gone, replaced by a deep resentment that we have to put so much work and money into hosting. i literally am acting like a teenager who stubbornly goes about participating in family functions.
so, relationally, i’m a teenager existing and moving in a world of adults. they say the first step is admitting you have a problem. but whoever said that probably wasn’t admitting anything, because to confess you are broken is actually a place of hopelessness. you stop and face that you’ve been revolving in these patterns for so long, and neither time nor age have changed anything, so how could simply admitting it do anything?
a friend read a passage from Anne Lamott to me this morning, and the thing that really stuck out is how shrouded both of God’s greatest gifts (the birth and death of Christ) are in darkness. during Advent, the days are growing shorter and the people of God are waiting against all odds for something to deliver them. during the Easter season, there is literal darkness of Christ’s persecution and death. God could easily have done away with all of it, but it is the darkness that allows the Light to shine. and so i continue to hope…..hope for healing, for growth, for maturity. hope to move beyond my stubborn place of teenage resistance and into a more loving, more open response to my family, whatever form they may take.