Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Can't Fake The Funk

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of reflective gratitude but in my realm it marks the beginning of a suffocating funk. The sensation is similar to the aura that precedes a migraine. You know a horrendous headache is imminent and you’re done for.

Every year, I attempt to outsmart this funk by building an arsenal of positive thoughts and flinging it in its face before it overpowers me. I make plans to serve the homeless, spend every waking moment with my 3 kids and grandchild for the entire holiday weekend, and look outward instead of inward to ward off my annual funk. Alas, my good intentions fail every year and I succumb to my funk in sweet surrender.

This year, I was looking forward to my daughter’s arrival on the Amtrak from San Diego. I feverishly worked on my projects to make the time pass quickly in my cubicle. When I received her phone call late in the afternoon on Thanksgiving eve, I knew a domino effect of unfortunate events would occur. Her train was delayed and wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 10:30 p.m. which meant our family dinner was canceled. My only desire for Thanksgiving is for my 3 kids, grandchild, and I to spend valuable time together before the holiday chaos interferes. I fought to maintain my positive thoughts until I called her at 10:15 p.m. and learned her train had been sitting on the tracks between San Diego and San Clemente. A brilliant individual placed a shopping cart on the tracks and the train my daughter was on sustained damage when it ran over the cart. My daughter didn’t get to the Fullerton train station until after midnight. I mentally checked off our early morning plans to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving and knew I’d be checking more off as the weekend unfolded.

Thanksgiving morning dawned bright and beautiful despite the fact that my entire household was ill with the flu. UGH! No one wanted to take family pictures with me and our Thanksgiving was spent sprawled out on the sofa in various poses of lethargy and sickness. Then it was time for my kids and grandchild to visit their fathers and extended family. Before I knew it, I was dropping my daughter off at the Amtrak station on Sunday night, kissing her goodbye. How I wish I could have thrown a temper tantrum for not having enough time to do the things I planned with my family.

Once again the funk won and lingered with a vengeance. Today, I was powerless and succumbed to the heavy mantle of blackness that’s so familiar to me. I was nibbling on a nasty recipe of the woe-is-me’s and couldn’t throw it up no matter what I did. I was in my car during my lunch break pouting and sulking when I overheard a woman on the phone telling the caller that she had a 25% chance of getting laid off. (Gulp) Within five minutes I received a text from a sick friend who missed work for 2 days. Earlier, my friend asked me to pray for a couple whose 20-month-old son was undergoing bone marrow testing for cancer. This couple beat the odds of infertility and became pregnant after in vitro procedures. A few hours later, I discovered that a friend of a friend was injured in a cycling accident caused by a hit-and-run vehicle.

As if I wasn‘t entirely convinced of my foolishness for allowing the funk to get the best of me, I picked up my book Crazy Love by Francis Chan and began to read. Francis spoke of our lukewarm faith and asked if we constantly declare that we’re "broke" or "poor". Hello! HI! My name is Nannette and I am both. I continued to read and Francis’s words slapped me awake. “Simply by purchasing this book, you spent what a majority of people in the world will make in a week’s time.” Oh, ouch! Sheepishly, I realized I was missing the point of the holidays...again!It’s not about what didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t happen but the wonderful things that DID.

  • Spending a few hours with my kids/grandchild before they went off to their dad’s. So what if it was only a few hours.

  • Watching my kids eat the meal my mom prepared for our family Thanksgiving dinner because my appetite was non-existent. So what if we weren’t able to feed the homeless.

  • Eating dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory with my kids/grandchild and Ray. So what if it wasn’t on the night that I had planned.

  • Taking my daughter, Maricelle, to church and having her like it a lot. She’s usually averse to the idea of „church“. So what if my son and grandbaby were too sick to accompany us.

  • Getting to lounge on the sofa w/my kids. So what if one was so sick she had snot coming out of her nose, the other was bawling because she didn’t want to leave home, and another was fighting w/his sisters.

And just like that I gave my annual funk the universal obscene gesture and demanded it to leave! I’m not proud of my weakness in surrendering to my funk but I AM deeply grateful for the lessons I learn from it. Hopefully, I’ll remember them next year.