“Life is not just something to be endured. It is to be lived in joy, in a fullness without limit.” – Ernest Holmes
It’s Christmas night and Simon and I are at my uncle’s house. I’m sitting in an upstairs bedroom after dinner, in the dark, after a few drinks, feeling totally consumed by despair. Being here is having a gloomy effect on me, which is the opposite of how I usually feel coming here for the holidays. I alter between lethargy and apathy. I’m sitting here by myself, thinking about Simon and our financial prospects for the future when my uncle walks into the room, ostensibly to see how I’m doing. He noticed I left the table during the annual pie-eating process. Every year after Christmas dinner, if that isn’t enough food, is the traditional gorging on pie. Right afterward. With barely any time to digest the orgy of food we’ve already consumed.
So, my uncle comes in, and there I am, sitting in the dark. He asks me how I’m doing and I tell him that my ardent desire for freedom and autonomy has firmly collided with my primordial need for stability and survival. I start into my litany of woes about how unstable our financial situation is. I thought my uncle had come up to comfort me, but what comes out instead is a tirade against Obama and how his policies have wiped out all of his business associates and how frustrated he is. And, his pain is visceral. And, there we are, in the dark, taken over by our shadow side of fear and insecurity, when we should be eating pie.
My uncle’s vulnerability pierces me and lets me know that I’m not alone. That we all have our crosses to bear. That there is no savior to rescue us, like in the fairy tales. It’s definitely not your Norman Rockwell Christmas scene.
On the bright side, getting out of our apartment has enhanced my relationship with Simon. At my uncle’s spacious abode, we both have our own rooms. Our lives are suddenly transformed into 1 %-ers. We have room to breathe. We’re not constantly bumping into each other and having to give each other space. Ironically, this new spaciousness restores a sense of intimacy to our relationship that had seemingly disappeared in our own living environment, being confined to such a small space with so much financial challenge.