Far from being a day of new beginnings, my day couldn’t end fast enough. Sadly, the day was effectively ruined by familial requirements + familial interactions. Isn’t this supposed to be a time of family? Those steeped in the experience of “family” would say “yes, of course this is the time for family…but what idiot consensually puts themselves in a position to deal with it?”
I wonder how many people spend a few days with family and at some point determine with heated certainty that 2000 miles is barely enough distance to reside away from them all. This distance is, of course, quickly closed the next Christmas season; when we again hurtle ourselves into expectations, guilt-motivation, criticisms and flagrant co-dependency. The worst thing about family is how powerless it makes you. It even sucked the power out of Jesus. THAT should should be about as telling as it gets.
Last year we spent Christmas in Bethlehem. Yeah, the real place. It was scary there, since Bethlehem is a Palestinian town. Aliya was sick and vomiting. I called my freak-mess of a family back home and had a warm and caring conversation filled with love and well-wishes. It was also SHORT, direct, to-the-point and without expectations, accusations or manipulations of any kind. That Christmas was, without exception, the best of my entire life.
Final analysis for my first day of 2005: Family is best kept at arm’s length. Allow it any proximity and it totally dominates your life…resistance is futile.