Christmas is a hard time for those with eating disorders. To be honest, I think it’s a hard time for most – even those who absolutely love it. It’s a bit like being strapped in to a fairground ride. You’re looking forward to it, but as you gain speed, you start feeling a bit sick too. You’re so focused on breathing you can miss the actual event. Then off you step, dizzy and disorientated, thinking ‘ hmmm. that went quick’.
Too often, December and January end up as the ugly sisters. One’s a tart, bloated and plastered, sticky-fingered and inappropriate. She’s overbearing: stays too long, laughs too loud, breaks her shoe and ends up crying in the toilets.
Then there’s January. Mean, tight-fisted, controlled. Judgemental, sarcastic, superior. You’re not going to eat that are you? she sneers. Disgusting. I wouldn’t touch it.
Who do you prefer? It’s not much of a choice. But behind the two faces lies the same person. Hungry, needy, afraid, human.
One can’t eat, the other can’t stop. One stuffs, one starves.
But what is a meal: A threat? A performance? A guilty pleasure?
Or something else?
An opportunity – to share life and fellowship.
A gift – to revive and restore.
A place of safety – to rest and regroup.
A time and a place where we can enjoy deep fellowship, community and acceptance.
It’s possible to break out of the old slaveries. To eat and have enough. To experience a life where you’re not alone, but caught up in a warm fug of conversation and intimacy. Of which food is just one part – and a joyful one at that.
This Christmas, don’t eat alone. Come and join the table instead.