For Families Who Are Suffering at Christmas – A Season That Is Not Always Merry and Bright

Yesterday, I painted all day, and as I did, I watched 3 very sad movies about families who had struggled with life-changing ordeals that had forever altered what might have been their happy lives together. It is less than 2 weeks until Christmas, and these 3 movies are far from the Hallmark-Always-Happy-Holiday entertainment that I might have expected, and they made me think about all of the people who are suffering and who are not celebrating during December.

The movies were as follows:

The Changeling – A movie about a child who had been abducted as a baby and about his mother’s life-long search to be reunited with him. This movie is 100% tragic and yet, it is based on a true story. In other words, things like this actually happen. Yet, things do not have to be 100% tragic to destroy a family.

The Deep End of the Ocean – A less tragic but still sad movie about another family whose child was abducted. Two families were nearly destroyed by the events of this movie, and although the movie ends on a happier note than it might have ended, both families are left scarred.

The Light Between Oceans – A painful movie about how two other families were impacted by a series of unfortunate events involving another child who was misplaced.

Especially in The Light Between Oceans, the viewer is made aware that even though there are not always clear enemies and/or antagonists in life, family dynamics often become hopelessly distorted and confused. Consequently, not all families are happy at Christmas or any other time, and perhaps this is true not because they did anything to deserve their plights.

Boy with Curls – Jacki Kellum Watercolor
Original Sold

Image result for jacki kellum red chalk

Boy with Curls – Jacki Kellum Red Chalk

Mixed up, trumatized families are often caused because somewhere along the way, things simply got turned around, and as Shakespeare said: “All are punished.”

I wish that I had something profoud to say about the suffering of some families–of some children–at Christmas time, but I do not. I think that I merely want to acknowledge that life is not always simple. It is not always black and white.

“Life is full of confusion. Confusion of love, passion, and romance. Confusion of family and friends. Confusion with life itself. What path we take, what turns we make. How we roll our dice.” – Matthew Underwood

I don’t know the answers to family dysfunction. I simply do not want to live in denial and to be shut off from what is happening around me. Even at Christmas time, I want to admit that dysfunctionalism is rampant. I want to admit that for some people, there aren’t enough gifts under the tree to fix things. On my better days, I try to simply remain close to the marrow of life, and I try to keep my own windows clear and my doors open. In my opinion, every day can be a new beginning, but this will never happen until everyone gathers around the table and is honest.

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.” – Lao Tzu

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