Life isn't what you expected.
And then the holidays come around and we're supposed to be happy. Except more than happy even, joyous and full of spirit and spreading it like pine needles along the living room floor.
|Meet Anthony, our tree, spreading joy and pine needles throughout the land|
I'm in a funk. We didn't Christmas carol with our friends. The kids weren't part of a holiday piano recital or the church Christmas program. All of my Christmas cards are sent out and the vast majority of them carried lots of love to Minnesota, where most of my favorite people and memories reside.
I'm in a place I love with the people I love, but without the connections I crave and that's hard for me any time of the year, but I'm finding it particularly difficult in December.
So I'm thinking of families who are celebrating for the first time since losing a family member, or maybe even the thirtieth time,but the loss still takes their breath away. I'm thinking of families where money is tight and there will be no Christmas dreams come true, even if those dreams were really tiny. I'm thinking of people around the country and the world who survive day in and day out without having their basic needs met. They are hungry and thirsty and tired and overworked and underpaid and unappreciated.
And I know my sadness is but a drop in the bucket, but it's still my sadness.
What's your sadness?
And how do you handle it all year long, but especially in December when it's Peace and Joy and Love and Glitter everywhere?
I wanted to hug that kid. What a profound statement. I mean really. Can you imagine living in a world where all of the questions have answers?
Questions about family illness, from the baby's ear infection to the aunt's cancer, work, money, relationships, parenting.
What if we knew how it would all turn out?
In many ways we have no idea how it'll turn out. Life is one big mystery. While there are time it's a Choose Your Own Adventure, like I loved reading so much as a kid, there are other times it feels like one of those really messed up Stephen King or Gillian Flynn book where it's one surprise after the other and we're left reeling. We're left gasping for breath at the shock. We're left shaking at the impact of one thing after another.
In other ways we know how it'll turn out. Sadness will one day become joy again. Grief will give a little and we'll laugh easily again. We'll keep putting one foot in front of the other and, with the help of family and friends and faith we'll get through the hardest parts of life, cry some tears, learn some lessons, and appreciate the beauty on the other side of all that pain. The sun will keep shining and people will keep showing up to remind us that we are loved and that life is grand, even when it's really hard.
I really hope you have those people in your life. The ones who show up. And I really hope that you are one of those people in someone's life. The one who shows up with a hug and a smile and says it's going to be alright.
I know not all of my readers are Christian, but I would be remiss if I didn't say that there are some days I just straight up cling to my faith and Christ's promise that I am loved and cared for and chosen. That I never walk alone and that the path before me has beauty and promise, forgiveness and love.
God never says it will be easy. The bible is full of broken, angry, sad people being used by God to create wholeness and joy and love. I want to be that kind of person. I want to be secure in that faith. And some days I am. And other days I'm about 1,432 miles away.
So I just want to say it's okay if you're kind of blah and down and not overflowing with holiday cheer like that hilarious Will Ferrell in Elf.
I want you to know that and I want me to know that.
So throw out the notion of perfect, sublime holidays and just stick with Happy Holidays.
|my happy Christmas elf dancing to Oh Tannenbaum on this musical Christmas tree-|
he's grabbing onto some happy!