Fair warning: I am going to ramble a bit but if you stick with me you will be more annoyed and disappointed than usual. So there’s that.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking. (Yes, I hear those comments about under-used brain cells and the smell of burning wood. Very funny.) Have you ever been at a party where there was a drunk who close-talked to everybody and insisted on dancing with people who didn’t want to dance? Remember how intrusive and annoying his actions were? And how oblivious he was to how people felt?
I’m thinking you and I have to be careful that we don’t sometimes act like that.
Every Christmas season (yes, Christmas) many people are stressed by its commercialization and busyness. Every year Valentine’s Day causes boyfriends and husbands to fret (privately) about expectations and inflated costs. Spring graduations have become onerously expensive and complicated, Halloween has become a gaudier version of Christmas, and birthday parties need their own annual budget line. Even Easter is represented more by gifts and chocolate-shaped-things than by religious observance.
I just wonder how our cultural largess feels to those who are not able to join in? Can our celebrations be so big and noisy that we inadvertently leak pain into the lives of people around us who are less fortunate?
More to the point
I understand we’re not responsible for everybody else’s situation, and I know I sound like a bleeding heart, but what’s with our need to over inflate everything we do?
Now before you write me off as a salty, curmudgeonly so-and-so (guilty) you need to know that I’m obviously not against parties or spending money on our loved ones. In fact, I love it when families and friends look for reasons to celebrate together. Okay? I’m just thinking of those people who can’t avoid the tsunami of excess we infer on them.
Regardless of how well-intentioned, I wonder if our insistence on doing things bigger and better drowns out others around us? How must it feel to be flooded by two months of Christmas if you are poor, alone, or from another faith? What about those who can’t afford a limousine for their child’s graduation, or tickets to their nephew’s Caribbean beach wedding, or the steak house where you want to meet them Friday night?
And shouldn’t christians of all people, be aware and sensitive to the plight of anyone less fortunate? Shouldn’t we mark important occasions with depth instead of glitz, respect instead of loudness?
Christians are sometimes annoyed when the world doesn’t celebrate our Sundays, our holy seasons and beliefs, and we lash out in frustration. But truth be told, we sometimes come off like the drunk at the party – leaning and breathing and annoying people while expecting them to dance with us. If christianity is worthwhile then it should make its own way in the world quietly and respectfully, without being shoved into people’s faces.
A bit more to the point
It just occurred to me that Mother’s Day is only a week away. Most of you are well aware of its approach because you are mature, functioning adults but I have a real problem thinking ahead to anything much beyond the day after today.
For most families, this year’s celebration is going to be much more subdued without easy gift options like restaurants, family barbecues, surprise visits with flowers, etc. But I have to admit there is a part of me that is happy we’re being forced to tone down another day of excess.
I’ve written about it before but I realize more and more that Mother’s Day is a time of competing emotions. It is appropriate and good that we celebrate motherhood and all the joys and blessings that come with the most important job on the planet. There aren’t many moments more fulfilling than when mothers and children get together just because of love.
However, each year I am reminded of the other side of Mother’s Day. What about the many who attach sadness to the same celebration for any number of reasons?
- Children whose mothers have passed away – who deeply feel the sting of loss years later;
- Mothers who have an unhealthy relationship with a child who is rebellious or has addiction or mental health issues;
- Children who have an unhealthy relationship with a mother who has addiction or mental health issues;
- Women who want to be mothers but are not able to be. Couples for whom pregnancy is an impossible dream and even adoption can be expensive or elusive;
- Perhaps most difficult of all, some moms have lost their children: miscarriage, abortion, accident, illness, suicide.
Most to the point
Of course we should celebrate Mother’s Day and all the other special occasions in our lives. We need to applaud the good circumstances, the positive influences, the memorable events, and I hope we find new, meaningful ways to be thankful.
Nevertheless it’s possible, even likely, that there is someone who is left out or suffering silently right beside our celebration. Is there somebody you can acknowledge, care for, or include in a nice way? Please be sensitive to that possibility and please don’t be the drunk at the party.
As for me, I think I’ll blog quietly about my mom next weekend.
Then I’ll wait patiently and quietly for Father’s Day. Maybe by that time our lessons will be learned, restrictions will be lifted, and my family will be able to throw a big party for me with some lobster, ribs, and too many shiny gifts.
I’ll leave that up to them. I hope they do the right thing.