The morning of the day that Mom and I were to do the 300 mile trek up the 5 to visit family, she broke down in tears about how my brother wasn't coming. It wasn't about this Thanksgiving, but, about a lifetime of hurts. She assumed that Steve wasn't coming because he was ashamed to face Brandon after how Stephen had treated his mother those many years ago. I told her she was wrong; Stephen is not motivated by old shame.
Thanksgiving was fine. Brandon's family is beautiful, and his wife's extended family treated us well as guests at their table. I had that strange feeling I always feel when people seem to be living normal lives successfully: suburban homes, children, pets, nice kitches.
It is no great revelation to say that we all live segmented lives, but, I wonder what my friends would make of what we discuss and how we discuss in my family: the language of fundamentalist Christianity. Our analogies, our stories. I slide back into it with ease; despite several years since actually studying scripture, I still remember the stories.
I think in the last entry or the entry before I was talking about my weariness with philosophizing, but, maybe some of that weariness has to do with how, in the secular world, so much discussion never gets passed the debate over the validity of presuppositions: people trying to agree on axioms, and then calling those who don't believe their axioms whatever_phobic_. Most secular debate seems really just limited to deciding if there are shared axioms and deciding who is in your axiomatic tribe. Christian banter has a structure and a language and a set of norms. It can be discussed because we at least agree on terms.
But I should not give the impression that we were a ministerial master class: there was pie to eat and football to watch and kids to wrangle and entertain. It was a lovely day.
This was Mom's first big family event since the passing of Jennifer, whose loss she still deeply feels. She brought it up often, trying to get people engage, to remember, to tell stories. Being concerned about how we were feeling as we all tried to move on from that. I don't think that she got the response she hoped for. Have we all moved on? Are we really so cold hearted? Perhaps we are.
The drive home was romantic in a way: darkness, stars, empty freeways, wind, and flipping through radio stations as they faded in and out. It was blowing a gale in the town of Grapevine and the uphill to Gorman, and then suddenly still as we descended into the lights of Los Angeles.
Friday and Saturday I played through the game Citizen Sleeper on XBox. Both Citizen Sleeper and Norco, the last game I played, were text heavy games heavy on atmosphere, character, and emotion. They were both brilliantly done. I think the feelings left from Citizen Sleeper are additive to the feelings left from Thanksgiving, and I've been pensive all day.
For only the second time in many months, I lifted weights today in my little garage gym. Hurting my back again still terrifies me.