A hurtful Christmas for the Budds

Our blog is primarily about our experience in learning to live locally.  I’ve written articles about growing food, seeds, keeping cows, dairying, making medicine using local plants and about developing harmony with nature.  Lately I’ve included a few posts about the things going on in the world that could cause people to have to live in the way that we are learning to live.  There is another dimension to this local living, and that is the social/psychological dimension.

Every year our family that consists of my Mom, my sister and her family, my brother and his family and our family make an effort to get together.  We also include friends such as our Iraqi friends the Zuhares, my Mom’s neighbor, Judy or the Inouyes if they are in town.  This year my Mom called and told me that it would be just her, her husband and our family of three (Billy, me and our daughter, Radha) for lunch on Christmas.   I was really surprised and asked why my siblings or their families weren’t coming.  After some hemming and hawing, my Mom explained that the rest of the family would be celebrating on Christmas Eve and that they didn’t want us there.  Please keep in mind that our family is composed of a fairly “normal” cross segment of society and we’ve tolerated drunken behavior from particular family members, various types of obnoxious behavior such as sullenness from teens and the usual array of rudeness or semi-rudeness.  It was my feeling that the meaning of Christmas is for a family to put differences aside and spend a day to try to appreciate the family members and spread good cheer.

“Why don’t you want us there?” I asked my Mom.<>

“Well they want to eat meat,” she replied initially.  It is true that we don’t attend the Thanksgiving get-together because we find the dead bird on the table to be off-putting.

“Mom, we tolerate meat-eating all the time.  We’re going to a New Year’s party where there will be meat and we still go.”

“Well they also said that they were repulsed when you talked about drinking urine last year.”

“What?  My sharing the cure to a serious chronic disease is more disgusting to them than eating the blood vessels, nerves and muscles of an animal that had been eviscerated?”  I actually did use that come-back, although I don’t usually have such snappy replies.  “And was it Don or Margaret who don’t want us there.”

“Both,” she replied.  “But I really want you to come down to visit on Christmas.”  It is a two and a half hour drive to Portland to see her.

We decided not to accept her invitation.  For one thing it seems unreasonable to expect her to entertain two days in a row, and for another we aren’t so hot on being with someone who won’t stand up for us even when she tolerates drunkedness and other obnoxious behavior from others.

I spent the next day close to tears, feeling that I’d lost my family.  Actually the only thing I’d lost was the illusion of having an extended family.

Billy and I have been discussing why, after all these years, we were rejected by our family.  The meat-eating, urine therapy explanations given by my Mom don’t ring true.  We don’t generally discuss the evils going on in the world, so it isn’t that they can think that we’re fear-mongering–something that could be quite unpalatable at a family gathering.  However we do talk about our adventures in learning to live locally.  That might be akin to telling a group of people who had happily set up a permanent, comfortable camp right on train tracks.  We’re like the people saying, “Wow, it is wonderful here off of these train tracks.”  And the people with their comfortable camp can now hear the train approaching and blowing it’s whistle.  But they are so comfortable that they don’t want to get off the track and would prefer to think that if they ignore the approach of the train that it will go away.  And here are the Budds saying, “life is great off the tracks.”  To those addicted to their comfortable lifestyle, even acknowledging someone who is living off the tracks is disturbing.

We made changes in our lifestyle four or five years ago to adjust to what we saw coming.  At that time most people thought we were crazy.  Today most people understand what we are doing but few are making the change.  We may live like peasants but we eat like kings.  We work harder than most people at our household chores, but we are producing something and that is what seems to be lacking in our county.  Our goal is to be a good example to others, especially the children. It would have been nice if our in-laws and outlaws were part of our future but it does not appear to be so.

***Note:  Since I posted this yesterday, I’ve had so many comments and personal e-mails of support.  Thank you all.  It makes me feel so much better and loved!  Merry Christmas!

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~ by Anuttama on December 24, 2010.

14 Responses to “A hurtful Christmas for the Budds”

  1. Alice you are a good person and a good friend and I have a lot of respect for what you do. So sorry to hear that family members can be so rude. You know the saying, You can’t pick your relatives but you can pick your friends. Glad to have you as my friend. And Billy too! Merry Christmas, Veronica

  2. Bless you’s!! You are loved with an Everlasting Love!!

  3. Im sitting here all alone wondering about all the mistakes Ive made in my family and relationship dealings over the years. Been so lonely and wanting to apologize to everyone I have offended. I have also been feeling like a riven cloud,so out of touch with my true spiritual self, not fitting in anywhere either material or spiritual. I envy those with real direction and who are not alone in this big scary world. Feel joy knowing how many people you and Billy are touching and teaching a better way. Pray for the old fools of the world…and have a wonderful time with those you love. Merry Christmas

  4. That’s not a very nice Christmas present to get! On the bright side, for every person disgruntled by your behavior, you have probably helped at least 20 people improve their lives significantly! =) Merry Christmas!

  5. Sorry to hear about what happened. 😦

    Went through nearly the same thing with my Grandmother. Such a confusing moment when the people you expect to be there more than anyone else seem to disown you for your differences.

    In my case, I decided to simply let it be, and if they decide to come around of their own accord, great. I’m certainly not going to force the issue.

    Whatever happens amongst your family, best of luck! (:

  6. You are probably bigger than I, Trevor. Right now I feel that it is better if I never see them or talk to them again. Perhaps time will cure that, but right now I’m smarting. Merry Christmas!

  7. hiya its me lisa from the self-reliant community

    (((warm hugsss)))

    my thoughts are to forgive them and move on ~ your on the right path

  8. My wife, Indulekha devi, and I have been through more or less the exact same experiance with our respective families about 10 years ago. We’re always open to a change of heart from even ONE of our family members, but methinks the chances of that are close to zero. So the situation now is that we see it as the hand of the Lord in all of this to STRONGLY awaken us to the reality that our only family are the devotees of the Lord. The other family members just come and go life after life unless they too can somehow connect with spiritual reality. It’s a bit painful but it’s the Truth, and the Truth (Krishna) ultimately heals all pain.

  9. You and Billy have gotten over the normalcy bias. Unfortunately the majority of the people still suffer from it, and refuse to awake from this comatose state.

  10. Just stumbled upon this blog, and so thought to say haribol and wish you and family all the best.

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