By the same token these people are the ones who are the most hurt when a family member suddenly dies and they never had the chance to tell them how much they really cared about them. Why don’t we try a new plan since the old one has never worked? Why can’t we try dealing with our baggage before the holidays so that we can love and appreciate our dear ones while they’re still here?
A: I’ll respond to each of your questions and points.
Why don’t we try a new plan? Because a new plan would require self-reflection, honesty, ownership, forgiveness and growth that would force us out of our comfort zone.
Why can’t we deal with our baggage before the holidays? Because we aren’t going to face it after the holidays either; we are in a holding pattern of self-absorption.
Why don’t we love and appreciate our beloveds while they are still here? Because as Aldous Huxley said, “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”
I’m still astounded when someone waits until a death to express his love — or even liking — of the deceased. With folks like this, all you hear is the moaning and groaning about the other person’s flaws and faults. The next thing you know the whiner is the one wailing and flailing at the funeral. This is typically followed by an inordinate period of grieving and attention-seeking.
In my memoir, “The Cracker Queen,” I give these individuals a special name: The Rutdwellers. Their mindset robs them of joy, perpetuates “bad luck” and keeps them from walking in awareness. Essentially they care only about themselves. This ensures that they remain stalled, stunted and stagnant.
Here’s an excerpt from my book: “Rutdwellers are the dregs, the residue that settles at the murky bottom. They cannot see clearly because their perspectives are clouded by selfishness and self-victimization. Many Cracker Queens begin life among the dregs of society, but we rise above the worst elements of our upbringing while still embracing what we are. This causes transparency to appear in the murky places. When the tide is breaking at our feet, we Queens know it’s time to make a change and move on. The Rutdwellers view the tide as just another slap in the face. To them the water resembles backwash in a beer bottle; it has no value. But we greet it with respect and appreciate its warning. The Rutdwellers would no doubt commiserate with Oscar Wilde that, ‘Life is one part lullaby, two parts fear.’ They are quite right, but only if you choose it to be so.”
Final notes: Thank you to everyone who attended my master class on joyful living at the Marietta Museum of History. You were my joy that day!
Thanks also to Marlon, a loyal Marietta Daily Journal subscriber, who bought my breakfast at the Mableton Waffle House. (I’m really beginning to dig the perks of this job.)
It’s almost time for the second Favorite Christmas Memories column. Please send your most cherished or most notable holiday memory to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.