A Little Above the Madness

It's proving a bit difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year. What with the recent shit tsunami and my health's reactions to it, it's hard to remember all the things for which I should be thankful. I'm mostly thankful for bad things that didn't happen. We might have had one less plate on the table this year, possibly even two. Gratitude for the upcoming harvest feast, then, has been completely overshadowed by the fact that I'm just thankful no one's dead. It's no wonder Woody Allen movies hold a certain appeal just now. I totally get that pathos. If this sounds a bit obscure and disjointed, welcome to my "new normal". My perception of things around me has gotten as bad as my eyesight. Everything's a bit blurred and nebulous, kind of like looking through a glass shower door when the water's running down it.

Added to the obvious trauma was an unexpected onslaught of old issues and hurts from over a decade ago. When Nettl and I had our Holy Union ceremony in 2001, we were flung against the prejudices and judgments of religious family members who opposed our "lifestyle". Many of these people were pulled back into our life just a week after our actual wedding on October 24th, and they picked up right where they left off. This was cruel beyond belief and I don't mind saying so publicly. It has been a time of deep introspection and self-analysis and I've been able to keep a little above the madness by asking myself what I'm supposed to learn from it all, what lessons are in there, and  how can they bring me to a better understanding of not only myself, but also of the people I love. But continually pressing myself to take the higher road and to look beyond my own fears and frustrations so that I might respond through love and compassion has been much harder than coping with the actual situation. I've learned a lot, though, and I suppose that's something to be thankful for.

I've learned who I can rely on when things get tough, and who I cannot. I've learned that true friends are few and acquaintances are legion. (One friend, Jacey, although she's a brand new mother, came all the way up from Oklahoma City to bring us dinner one evening and let us dote on her baby, Archer, which was ever so healing.) These people, these examples of what friendship really is, are what I'm thankful for. I've learned that total strangers will step up and lend a hand more readily than will people who profess to be a friend, that Good Samaritans are just that. Kind and compassionate strangers, people who brought us meals, made unsolicited runs to the wine store, dropped by to see how we were doing, or left a voice mail just to say they were thinking of us. Most of them I'd never met, didn't even know their names, but they were there for us. They sustained us when we couldn't do it for ourselves. That's what I'm thankful for.

That, and the fact that nobody's dead.

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