An hour ago I witnessed a Christmas family meltdown on the street behind us.
A young man, I'm guessing his father, his mother - the younger man standing at the bottom of the steep driveway yelling loudly. Angry. Hurt.
The older man standing in shorts and nothing else, half way up the driveway, a plastic bag full of something in his hand, doing his best to look unaffected.
The younger man punches the letterbox, yells some more, then strides off in desperation. At the top of his strained voice: 'I've had it with my life! I've had it with my life!'
In that moment I see a legacy. Father to father to father to boy. I see such pain. A young being who wants to be cherished, seen, heard, loved. The pain of those needs left starving. Of another reminder of the stinging lack in his life.
The unthinking act of procreation, not realising that to fully love and accept another we must first love and accept ourselves.
If you're embarking on a joyful family Christmas, take a moment to truly take in your good luck. Your family's emotional legacy is healthy enough for family to be a positive, nourishing thing in your life. No amount of money can buy that. I'd say less than half of our society has this privilege.
If you're not lucky enough to have this, if you're one of the people for whom Christmas is a stressful time, perhaps one that prompts latent anxieties to surface, know that you're not alone. Know that when politicians say they know 'everyone wants to be with family this Christmas', that many others too, sit in silence and feel the pain, the yearning for that imaginary family they would love to want to be with. The family experience they may never have as long as they live.
And know that there is a way to rob that pain of its sting. It's called personal growth. And you can decide to give yourself that gift. You can start at any time. And in 2021, Flourish Personal Growth will be offering you some powerful ways to walk that path and the company of fellow travelers to support you on the way.
May your Christmas be at best, a wonderful celebration of love and togetherness, and at worst a bearable day that does no damage.
Warmly in the messiness that is humanity,