#973 – Dick Bernard: "We Wish you a Merry Christmas…."

I’m a predictable creature: at the coffeehouse I frequent most every day, I have a fair number of good friends, but we understand each other. Sometimes we have animated conversations, sometimes I’m just back in my corner, writing letters, thinking about this and that, watching the early morning world go by.
Sometimes nearby events catch my attention, as this morning.
A younger woman was across the room, and presently an older man, looking pretty serious, joined her, and they engaged in quite a long conversation, if one could call it that.
It was obvious that this was not a “have a Merry Christmas” catch-up I was witnessing.
The way the conversation was going, it seemed pretty apparent that this was a Dad talking to a daughter, who appeared to be post high school age, and there had been serious problems. Probably there was, at some point, one of those “you can go straight to hell” conversations which most of us of a certain age, if we’re honest, have experienced ourselves at some point(s) in our own lives. Maybe she stormed out, and said “I’ll never talk to you again”.
Who knows?
Living in relationship is never easy.
More than once the young woman – who was facing away from me – apparently asked why they didn’t try to get ahold of her. “We didn’t know how to reach you”, he said. Perhaps she didn’t want to be reached, then, but had forgotten that.
More than once there was an apparent demand made of the other woman involved in this conversation, maybe the Mom: “she wouldn’t do that”, the man said, about something apparently non-negotiable, at least at the moment.
Conversation over, the two people prepared to leave. Steps from the table, the man turned to give the woman a big and obvious heartfelt hug; the woman didn’t reciprocate at all – he hugged her unresponsive shoulder.
The narrative about Christmas and other similar occasions presumes “good tidings of great joy” or fun gatherings “over the river and through the woods”, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
From the most basic of relationships, to the largest and most complex – say people of an entire nation, or world – there are breakdowns and enmity.
Best we figure out how to do what that dis-connected couple were apparently trying to do this morning: attempting to find a face-saving way to resolve possibly old grievances and bitterness and resume at least some kind of civil connection.
I wish them well.
Merry Christmas.
from Shirley L:
Interesting observations, Dick. I’ll bet each one of your readers could walk into a local Starbucks and witness a version of this scenario. Christmas is tough. Hearts and souls are pulled in so many directions – hopefully some of the joy of the season can become balm for the deepest hurts and be the catalyst for repair.
Wishing you a joyous Christmas!

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