For days I’ve thought about what I would say if not for lassitude. And now that I’m actually saying something — now that I’m here — would you be surprised to hear how none of it matters?
Yet who can say what matters in the here after — or for that matter, in the here now — and who knows whether what I write today is really my true self talking or whether it slips off the tongue of lassitude?
Yes, with lassitude lurking about, it’s better I draw a few lines around facts — even limiting myself to answering the unasked question of where “here” is. Describing my here and now is enough — and unless I’m careful, too much to hear, should I slip and fall between the facts and talk of feelings and memories and all those things fuzzy soft, that change with perspective, with one’s value’s, or on one’s being there. Or here.
So, keeping to hard facts, here at this very moment of time, I lie in my soft comfy bed with a laptop propped against my legs. I’ve nothing I must do today. No where I must go or be. The day is mine to spend as I wish. On this second day of the season of Christmas, while the waiting within the season of Advent is over, I instead wait within the in-between days of my mother-in-law’s death and funeral.
To avoid falling into feelings, I skip to the next fact: My sister-in-law, who stayed here ten days — and my brother-in-law who stayed two — are now gone to stay elsewhere. Living with in-laws very different from me — who smoke cigarettes and/or depend upon drinks of alcohol to live — left me in a very un-Christmassy spirit, which is another way of saying, a very non-Christian frame of mind and heart. Why, living with in-laws lifted my lassitude — if only for a bit — to take charge of life. These, I know, as facts.
The in-laws departed Christmas Eve, the very day I ran away from home myself, seeking refuge with my sister, who thank God, is always good at taking in strays who show up on her doorstep, no questions asked. There we visited and watched movies and make fried bologna sandwiches and watched more movies and ate popcorn in a room heated by a big lovely fire in the hearth that we shared with three other strays Sis had taken in over the years — a chihuahua named Taco, a schnauzer named Eve and a large ragdoll cat named Sophia. Until my arrival, Sophie was the newbie.
I’ve never run away from home before, though I ended last year wanting to and, if I’m being honest, have thought about it many, many times since. But never have I given in to the urge to do so. But two days ago, on the morning of Christmas Eve, I knew if I stayed, I’d end up having ‘words’ with my in-laws — and that those words would become words of regret not long after their speaking — and sometimes — maybe always, though I can’t say for sure since this is not fact — I think it’s better to flee rather than fight.
My plan was to come home right after the funeral, after the in-laws had departed for their next visitation. But something happened Christmas Eve which caused plans to change: My husband called to tell me they’d departed early — that the house was quiet in a good way — that my house and life were ready for me when I was ready to come home.
I returned the next day. And then, as if none of that running away or any of the departures that had come before had happened, we dressed up in our casual-but-festive finery and drove down to the home of my son and new daughter-in-law. And there, we dined on food that was a pleasure to eyes and palate. And some drank wine, while others had water or iced tea. And long after we’d consumed creme brulee, we stayed gathered around the table, doing our best to be merry and make light conversation with members of Amy’s family. And in spite of all the year has wrought and wrung out of me — in spite of that lingering lassitude within me — it wasn’t hard at all to eat, drink and be merry.
And isn’t this just what another long ago writer expressed, when suffering from his own bout of lassitude?
“Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun” — Ecclesiastes 8:15 KJV