i just wanted to say ‘that infernal machine’. the elliptical is glowering at me from the next room. :/
which has nothing to do with my point, which is this: i really dislike this time of year. it brings the worst out in people. jewish people pretty much just ignore it and wait for it to be over, watching bemused as the frenzy plays out. all the painful ghosts of xmases past, all the unreal expectations that can never be met, all the going broke for another year until it starts all over again, all the frayed nerves—it seems neurotic and obsessive to me, almost infernal and diabolical, like that machine, only not as health-improving. but that’s just me.
my intention is not to insult what’s important to many people. it’s just perplexing sometimes. to paraphrase ziva david, chanukah is all about family, but what is christmas about? i see so many people being unhappy and unsatisfied, slaves to materialism and competition, excluding and being shut out. if it’s about religion, it’s a pretty harsh, greedy, uncompassionate god. if it’s about family, it can be very conditional and hurtful. i’ve seen firsthand what this time of year can do to people who have been devastated by loss and marginalization. it just grinds the hurt deeper.
in the end, what may redeem this season are families like ours, consisting of individuals who have all weathered various fractured, dysfunctional, painful pasts, with all the scars and imperfections, welcoming and taking each other in, without unrealistic expectations. reinventing what a family can be in the true sense, a place to be yourself and be accepted. somewhere you can ignore the insane world and create your own new ‘traditions’. not based on how much money you have to spend on stuff, but on mutual love and respect. we’re thankful for the family we do have and the welcome we have received, especially after the transitions of the past year.