Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Family Drama (Holiday Peace)

My husband says "Nothing like family (or the holidays) to make you want to drink".

I never knew this while I was growing up mormon, but the busiest bar holiday of the year is the day before Thanksgiving. Everyone is home, and since there will be a big dinner the next day, everyone goes out.

This holiday, I find myself thinking back to the idea of spheres of influence. My immediate family, my husband and the twins are doing well. We had a lovely quiet gift opening this morning, and the only thing on our plate today is to visit my husband's grandfather this afternoon. We don't have to bundle our two up (and tear my son away from his new train table) and go anywhere. This is entirely by choice.

Needless to say, this hasn't been the easiest year for many people I know for many reasons. I won't go into those reasons here - suffice to say, some loved ones have made some poor choices. Some people have made some very unfortunate, unhealthy choices. Some have just been very unlucky. My own siblings, friends of friends, my husband's extended family members, etc.

In the end, what can you do? You have to "count your blessings". I remember singing that hymn often as a child. But it does have a kernel of truth. Because I do have a great deal to be grateful for. And there are still a lot of people who are good people, who have been making healthy choices - people who help others - without a thought to being thanked or appreciated. They know the right thing to do and they're doing it.

At one of the al-anon meetings I went to, more than one person talked about the chaos in their families. That before they started al-anon, they would get drawn into the chaos and the drama. And now, after trying to live the twelve steps, they are able to put things into perspective. They refuse to let other people's actions stress them out or bring them down. I'm not sure I totally agree with this just yet, but I do think the philosphy is very wise.

I don't know why things happen or why things turn out the way they do. Many religious people will say that it's God's will. And if they can find comfort in that, I'm happy for them. Often it's hard to understand why a God would choose to allow people to suffer like they do. I know that's the age-old question.

I wish all of the readers of this blog peace this holiday season. I wish you peace with family and friends. I'm hoping that you eat lots of good food with people that you love. If you're able to honor traditions, that's great. If not, I hope that you are able to start some new traditions.


Freckle Face Girl said...

I went to an Al-Anon meeting once. I don't know very much about them, but I remember hearing "Let go & let God" several times.

I hope you & your family had a great holida too.

Aerin said...

Thanks FFG. It was a very interesting meeting. I will blog about it at some point.

It took a lot of strength (on my part) to try and listen with an open mind. I know people who have found al-anon very helpful - and I think in the right circumstances it could be good for me.

But - a lot of what's said immediately calls up triggers for me of what was said in mormonism "there's only one path, one right way". If you follow this program, you will be happy.

So I'm naturally skeptical. But I'm most certainly drawn to the idea of not being involved with the chaos - not focusing on the chaos myself.

Anonymous said...

Hey Aerin,

Glad you and your immediate sphere of influence had a quiet happy xmas day. Sorry to hear the wider spheres are causing pain and stress. I wish you peace and perspective...easy to say, so hard to find.

I think the 12-step thing is hard for people (like us?) who chafe against strict rules or One Right Way.