Yesterday I suggested that some folks are difficult to hang out with, especially at the holidays. Last night, tired and cranky and irritable with my husband, I had another thought: I bet sometimes that difficult person is….me. In Nadia’s book Accidental Saints, she does an amazing job of expressing vulnerability.
In just a few short paragraphs, Nadia captures a concept that I think we might all benefit from considering. Remember, “Frances” is the name Nadia gave her depression. Listen in as we hear what Nadia learned.
“When Frances lived with me, I was no longer able to do simple things, like remembering if I’d showered or shopping for groceries….Frances distracted me so much that I would forget to eat. Four or five months later, when my pants had gone down a couple of sizes, my parents started to worry. One day my mother, Peggy, realized that Frances was my problem and suggested I go talk to a nice lady therapist about evicting her.
She’s a bit of a dope fiend, Frances, but it ends up there is one drug that she doesn’t like, it’s called Wellbutrin. Two weeks after my therapist prescribed it, the bitch was gone.
But not for good. Now, twenty years later, she still knows how to find me and sometimes shows up unannounced and stays a couple of days, even though I’m now into so many things she hates: sobriety, exercise, community, eating well, and of course, Jesus.” (Accidental Saints, p. 86)
So here’s what I want to suggest. Maybe while we’re grousing about Uncle Lenny’s bad habits and poor holiday representation, we could take a pause and do a couple of key things:
- Look in the mirror and see what kind of holiday companion we are to others.
- Practice on a daily basis the behaviors that we have learned help us stay healthy and reasonably happy.
It might make a difference in how we approach the season of gratitude and giving.