After the idiotic sheer stupidity of Christmas Eve morn the drama stopped. Cold turkey.
The kids arrived in the evening. Presents exchanged. Food eaten. Small amounts of delicious adult beverages were sipped. A good time.
Yesterday Jim and I lay around watching our Christmas present from the kids, a large flat screen HD television. I'd never thought about replacing our 13 year old Sony Trinitron television, but I have to admit this new one is a world of better, clearer, bigger,.. I've never been a fan of huge televisions but that may change here shortly.
Jim surprised me by gifting me with a beautiful white lamp, the base of the lamp being white birds sitting on white wood. It totally killed my years long disgust/annoyance with him not paying enough attention to my likes and dislikes, to the point where he would always have the guys at the local gift shop pick something out for me for a present. As a result I have a pile of fancy jewelry boxes, a couple of silver brushes and mirrors and other luxury items that are very nice, but not really my thing at all. Poor dear, he tries.
Earlier in the year my mother, knowing I like birds, gave me a large soap dish, a pure white bone china dish with birds sitting up on the rim. Shortly thereafter I got a dish garden with a white ceramic bird perched on the edge of the garden. I have these two items sitting on my desk in my office, the soap dish holding paper clips and binder clips sitting right in front of the dish garden. The lamp is perfect! It fits with the other two things and looks awesome in my office. He paid attention for a change.
My irritation with his gifts was never because I didn't like what he got me, more that he put zero thought into it and left the selection to someone else. I would have been happy with something from Goodwill or hand made if he'd have only made the selection himself based upon some thought or knowledge of who I am.
I've always hated the whole Christmas consumerism thing, preferring something from the heart or brain.
Once evening started to fall last night we went to our friends house for dinner, Joanie and Paul, and had a splendid time. I admit, I was more than a little nervous going there as much as I love Joanie because last Christmas and at other holidays there have been former members of my old church I had no desire to ever see or interact with again.
When we pulled into their long driveway I was dismayed to see several cars, hoping against hope that the usual glomming onto any holiday at Joanie's house guests still members of the old church Janice and Susan weren't there. They weren't. Whew.
I used to feel sorry for Janice and Susan, a mother and daughter from the old church. Janice's husband was convicted from raping their eldest daughter twenty years ago when they were all members at the old church. Janice eventually divorced him after he'd been in prison a while. But she always was kind of weird, odd, very very very judgmental. She was in our Weigh Down Workshop meetings all those years ago and endlessly monopolized the meetings with her litany of self while subtly bashing the rest of us.
Susan, her daughter, was sheltered from boys, men and life in general so much through the years. Janice was so fearful of something happening to Susan that she hovered over Susan and would not allow the girl any freedom, controlling every aspect of her life. Susan is near thirty now and her Facebook account is filled with postings about either her depression or her God. I had to drop her as a FB friend in my great former church member purge last year when I realized most of them had friended me to criticize my faith or life. She kept demanding to know my phone number so she could call weekly and give me messages from God. I wish her no harm, in fact I have prayed hard before for Susan's escape through the years, but I have no desire to be triggered by those phone calls, which I'm pretty sure would happen.
In the last year and even more in the last few months, I manage my triggers by stopping others from access to me if all they are is someone eager to bash me using the excuses of God, Jesus or the Bible. I told Jim this week that I wish none of them, or anyone else I've pretty much cut off relations with, or situations that stress me out I now just refuse to participate in, any ill will. But my desire for peaceful existence with a minimum of stressors has a top priority in my life right now. Screw the rest. I need peace after the painful journey of the last eight years and the highly dysfunctional family of alcoholics I come from.
The only people at Joanie's house last night was one of her foster children who I knew very well from the three years she'd lived there, and the guy they rent a bedroom to, David, a former IFB pastor who is now an undertaker who apparently came to the old church right after we left. I don't remember him, but I do clearly remember his estranged wife because when I would visit the old church for things like Joanie preaching a sermon his wife would march up to me and introduce herself. On the fourth time she did it I was pretty rude to her, pointing out that she'd met me three other times.
I really enjoyed the evening and I enjoyed the time with David and the former foster child. David, like me, like Joanie, and like so many at NLQ, is struggling to recover from whatever wounds the other members of the body of Christ have inflicted on him.
The former foster child, who I'm not going to name because I knew her well as a child and don't wish to hurt/identify her. It was sweet and touching to see her return to her foster home and really have an appreciation for everything Joanie and Paul did for her, to have an emotional connection to them as parental figures after all these years and the total hell she put them through during her three years there.
Sometimes I think everyone on the planet is the emotional walking wounded or spiritually walking wounded and it would make the world a much better place if we remembered that.
For me I know I must come to a place where family and former church members cannot effect me. I can do this with strangers, deliberately not take offense at much, but I really need to develop it with those I know all too well.
I don't know where Susan and Janice spent their holiday but I hope it was in a place of peace and love.