Updated: Dec 3, 2021
I am a night owl of sorts. This means, when everyone else is getting comfy in their beds, that I am most likely trying to pop some of my favorite brand of kettle corn, grab my comforter and a fluffy pillow. I usually crawl into my most loved chair and begin perusing the TV guide. Although last night's movie didn't meet all my requirements I decided to give the 2018 release a go. Besides, I am a sucker for romance by any means necessary. Who doesn't love romance during the holidays?
The story line details the experiences of Billy and Lizzie who are having trouble sleeping. Billy's girlfriend (Nicola) dumps him because she realizes he's a slob who hasn't done anything with his life. He has a dream of becoming a bar owner, but settles for being a bartender. For her, the fact that Billy is unable to fall asleep with her is a sign that he's just not that into her.
Lizzie, a control freak, is right smack in the middle of planning her elaborate wedding to Josh (who by the way is really easy on the eyes), but is unable to find inspiration on account of being exhausted from lack of sleep. Her overbearing mother-in-law looms in the background obsessing over every detail, or lack thereof, adding to Lizzie's growing stress levels.
Billy and Lizzie learn about each other's sleep disorder after she literally runs into him with her car (yeah, she almost killed the guy). Lizzie offers to take him to the emergency room to get checked out, but the pair ended up falling asleep in the car - for hours. Upon waking they were excited and decided to do it again to see if they had stumbled into something. Sure enough each time they got together they were able to get a good night's sleep, so Lizzie proposed a business deal, which allowed Billy to realize the dream of owning a bar. They found creative ways to sleep in each other's company until they got caught and had to come clean about the arrangement. Needless to say Josh (Lizzie's cute boyfriend) wasn't having it; therefore, they had to call it quits and each returned to their sleepless nights and their significant others (oh yeah, Billy's girlfriend came back after he opened the bar).
Billy and Lizzie's time apart eventually revealed why they were able to sleep in each other's presence. Whenever they were together, both Lizzie and Billy felt safe, unburdened, calm and devoid of stress. Lizzie finally came clean (on her wedding day at the altar nonetheless), and told Josh that she was not going to marry him. She left the wedding and headed to her safe place - with Billy!
Cue: happily ever after music!
Finding Calm in the Midst of the Holiday Chaos
Billy and Lizzie's problem is not unique. Their sleeplessness was deeply connected to what was happening in their lives. Lizzie, was anxious about her impending nuptials and the uncertainty she felt concerning Josh being the "one" for her. Billy was anxious about not being were he wanted to be in life and struggled to see how he could move forward.
Having anxiety concerning the past, present, or future is extremely common in society today. In fact, according to the Anxiety & Depression Society of America "more than 40 million adults experience anxiety disorders each year." Persons can suffer from anxiety for various reasons, which may include: major life decisions, phobias, past trauma, grief/loss of any kind, and the holidays.
The holidays, while exciting for some can be overwhelming for others. It may even be an emotional trigger for those of us who have experienced loss at this time of the year. The anticipation of being with loved ones, or the anxiety of not being able to be with them and a host of other feelings all tend to coexist. The task for us and those we know who suffer in like manner is to get through this time of year without going into crisis. We all become anxious about something at some time, or another and perhaps some of us more than others. Yet, it's important to do what we can to aid ourselves and others in the process of being grounded, so that we do not become fragmented internally, or externally.
In Paul's thank you note to the Philippians, he helps us to understand how to keep us and each other together. This church was experiencing some inner turmoil, which obstructed the work they were supposed to be doing. He shared with them, that although he had no control over the outcome of his situation he believed, that the end result will be to his benefit.
In the final portion of the letter he urges the brothers and sisters to stick together, while doing the work. His words of advice might serve us well during holiday chaos, when anxiety might try to rear its ugly head.
Rejoice always - remember the reason for this season. Jesus is the gift of love whose birth we remember. Give yourself permission to be happy and at ease with oneself.
Be gentle - be gentle with yourself and others leaving room for mishaps, missteps and mistakes. After all, we all have low moments.
Guard your heart - create healthy boundaries. When necessary avoid those places, spaces and people who do not privilege your peace of mind. Choose you each time.