Advent 2013: Area 25

Kalbi Feast

My father-in-law's birthday party at our house last night. 12 people, 15 pounds of Kalbi ribs, and a GIANT pile of used napkins. I almost typed, "My life isn't always like this," but stopped myself. It kind of is. I have family and friends all around. They have birthdays and we get to celebrate them together. Or it's a plain old weeknight and we get to celebrate that, too. And most the time, I feel THERE, in my skin, and ready to give and receive.

I heard a podcast today about a way to treat depression by stimulating electrodes deep in the brain. The nuerosurgeon talked about his technique, and how people who haven't left the house for months all of the sudden want to go out to the garage and tinker with the car or call a friend. It got me thinking about how I always want to call a friend. I've had dark moments, I have my share of anxiety, and I struggle with a very loud inner critic who says I'm not good enough. But I don't have a problem getting out of bed in the morning or coming up with things to look forward to. For whatever reason, that hasn't been my burden in this life.

I bring this up because, for lots of you, it is. And I've heard that Christmas is a sucky time. Everyone's expectations and nostalgia factors are higher than normal and you don't feel happy. "Area 25" is the space in the brain responsible for sadness, and it's like a prison for you. I don't understand it, but I believe you.

I have zero suggestions or prescriptions, but I guess I just wanted to say I'm sorry and I think about you a lot during Advent and Christmas. And people posting about raucous family meals and Rumi poems might rub you the wrong way. I don't see how this could be a consolation, but I've always believed that those who suffer deeply know more about life, themselves, and what's really important. Things I don't know yet. Somehow, in some way, may you find yourself in the light this season--inexplicably, undeniably out of Area 25 and into some State of Grace. Amen.