Monday, December 30th, 2013

THE URGE TO PURGE AND OTHER PRIMAL RHYTHMS

There is a rhythm to the holidays that is deeper than tradition.
No matter how I try to resist some of them, they are not to be ignored and they will be expressed.  Even without modern advertising and communication and consumer frenzy, these impulses would be with us, in us.

There is the darkness theme.  The need to pull in, quiet down and to gather. This is the time for hope over fear–for reflection of “better” to come.
It is time to eat together– the more the better, the fatter the better, the more indulgent the better.  It is a pre-hibernation feast.

There is the urgency and drive of building to one moment of celebration.
By Christmas, decorations have to be up, gifts ready and food cooked.
There is a pinnacle of expectation, followed by a purge.  You can see this tracked with specificity  in home magazines.

And there is an urge to give, to delight, to please, to tease, to have a feeling of abundance, enough to share.  The size or value does not matter one bit if the gift shows you are seen and matter and someone wants to make you happy.
I asked my crew, “Would you rather give or receive the exact right gift?”
Giving won, but the best it was decided when all are giving and receiving at the same time.

At one point, my daughter-in-law and I laughed and said, “Why are we doing all this?  We could all just agree to take it easy for the same amount of time as we take preparing.”   We do it for all of it.  The planning, the laying in of stores, the huddling against the dark and cold, the giving and loving, and the rest and relief of a purge, of having a big celebration over.  And we do it for the hope of something holy.

These are deep human needs that won’t be managed away.

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