I wish this was a nostalgic post where I was opining about a Charley Brown Christmas tree. But it isn’t.
The topic is kidnapping. Sequestration. Auto-sequestration, or self-kidnapping, is big business in Mexico where one can hide, communicate as if kidnapped, collect ransom money supplied by the charity of others, and disappear with the money.
Here, in this country, in this season, women are being kidnapped by their own emotions. Blue pill men run themselves thread bare as ransom for these self-kidnapped women, usually their wives. I will offer an example from my own recent days.
When we lived in Texas we had a stately home, plantation style, on a couple of acres, set back 50 yards or more from the road. It was painted white brick with lots of gables and a wrapped front porch. It was perfect for Griswaldian Christmas decoration. I threw the power switch yearly, sans a weird cousin. It was usually in the 70’s and dry and I was in my late 30’s, had fewer kids and animals, and far less responsibility with work and life in general. We home schooled, my wife stayed home, and our schedule allowed me to do something I didn’t even realize I was doing. That was to pay ransom to my wife’s emotional self kidnapping. I’d go so far as to say I think its part of what a Christian man is called to do as a form of loving his wife. Seeing to it she not suffer too greatly from this affliction is not an off limits duty.
But it is subject to reality.
This (my example) is, in life’s scheme, a trivial thing. But hopefully its illustrative enough that I get my point across, and some folks share their experiences with it.
These days we live suburban, not rural. Our house does not lend itself to the sort of decorating that one in Texas did, and therefore I have not even attempted to duplicate that. My wife, each year, reminds me that as a child her father would put one strand of lights across the gutter on their 1970’s three bedroom ranch home outside Fort Worth. That one strand of lights, as she recalls now (key point) meant everything to her. So, Ive put some lights in bushes and bought one of those balloons with an animation that has a reindeer helping Santa out of a chimney. Its been our contribution to our version of Live Oak Lane (a street in Austin TX famous for its Christmas decorations). We don’t rate.
This year, with wife in college, 2 kids in college, one in high school, a broken arm on one, basketball for my eight year old girl, a schedule so insane that only recently have I embraced sanity again (for a very specific reason), freezing rain and ice, and last night tornadoes and several inches of rain, late as usual with our shopping which is not over the top but still takes time, a recent blessing of a promotion, etc. etc. , Ive not placed any lights outside. It is Sunday evening, the 22nd, and my wife said we need to go buy net lights so it will be easier.
I said no. I do not attempt to convince her beyond explaining that, if I go get lights, wade the soupy muddy mess that our flower beds are out front, run these lights, and anchor that balloon, we are leaving on the 25th in the afternoon, so its all being done for 2.5 days of enjoyment and I’m not willing to do that for the reason I suspect it is wanted.
“But when I was little my dad hung the one string of lights, and little eight year old Empatha, she will notice their lack and it will bother her.”
My wife demonstrated being kidnapped by her own emotions. This is a perfect example of her wanting to feel like she did this thing that she believes will make our daughter feel the way my wife has convinced herself she felt about that one string of lights. I believe this tendency afflicts almost all women. Its an urge to vicariously experience something nostalgic that in truth didn’t ever exist as recalled in the first place. I believe that because I know women who would not stop decorating until the day its time to take the decorations down. They are slave to the emotions they want to feel in the imaginary yearnings of their children. I witnessed it this past summer as a friends daughter married and the mother ran the father (and me as helper) to exhaustion adding “just one more thing because (fill in nostalgic memory here). This is what pastors call the gift of mercy. This is what counselors call a man servant leading. Its a perfect way to show the folly of that expression. How is a man leading if he goes along with things, the consequences of which, he and others bear, and the reward of which is nonexistent.
Marketers know about this condition and they maximize the auto sequestration of women to these feelings. Fewer women fall for the marketing and go purchase things than fall generally into this type of trap regarding things that are not necessarily about buying stuff. But they do fall into some kind of mental control, like automatons chasing made up remembered emotions.
Am I a total scrooge for even raising this point? Is this what Christmas, or any sentimental time, is about, scratching itches that are born of bites and rashes that never existed in the first place?
Its one thing to not go along with it. Its another to wonder, how can a man actually penetrate that thinking and avert some of it? I dropped it in front of you, anyone picking it up? How can men teach efficiency? There are traps. If he refuses to cater to these things and he has a good wife, she will smile and do them for herself. This has unintended consequences. Other things get put back, left undone, and dominoes fall, the husband is somewhere in the sequence. Its a shell game of time management.
The more I encounter these things the more convinced I become of the need for strong men, unafraid. Not to avoid hanging some Christmas lights. No. But to not allow 60 years of married life to go by in a blur of kidnapped emotions.