The holidays come with expectations rarely met. The Hallmark commercials, the Christmas movies and carols ring out…
“Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore, faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us once more…
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style, people laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile…
It's the most wonderful time of the year, there'll be much mistletoeing, and hearts will be glowing when love ones are near. It's the most wonderful time of the year”…but is it?
Messages of good cheer and picture perfect families are portrayed and we buy into the idea. However, what happens when life falls short…very short of these expectations? What happens when family and friends disappoint? What happens when you find yourself alone… Family members decide to go elsewhere. Friends have their own celebrations planned and you are not invited. Your children are traveling, or married and with the other side of the family, or worse yet…there are problems in the relationship and they do not choose to be around you? What if a sister or brother does not care how you are doing at Christmas? No call, no card, no contact. Or you found out just before Christmas that your husband has cheated on you? For many these are real life scenarios…not fiction.
I have an answer to that “what happens when life falls short” question.
Two choices unfold.
There is the choice to wallow in the pain, or the choice to rise above.
I have lived through sorrow and understand the battle. I know what “wallow in the pain,” looks like, because I tried that route a time or two. Depression is its reward.
Rise above…has a different mantra. It is not artificial. One does not feign happiness. However, choices are made that facilitate the ability to rise above the pain and even if only a pocket-full of sunshine is all one gets, it is better than dark depression.
This Christmas I was hugely disappointed. I sent out invitations to family and friends and everyone had other plans except my children. So rather than cry in my soup that I would not have the big family Christmas I wanted, I told my children to invite anyone that had no place to go. There was no problem finding those alone. The table filled up nicely, the 22-pound turkey and large ham with all the trimmings was enjoyed, with leftovers for all to take home. The seats planned for close family and friends were taken by an eclectic group of interesting young people and they blessed me. Conversation was happy and laughter ensued.
When in pain, there is no better solution than to force yourself to be social. Isolation is Satan’s biggest schemes. He knows if we are alone, we will have nothing but time to dissect the pain. It will grow like a fungus in the dark. We have the power to make or break our holiday season depending on our choice.
That first Christmas after I found out my husband’s betrayal, and my children did not yet know, I forced myself for their sake to go through the motions. This choice held back the depression. The second year, after the chatty betrayal of prayer partners and all was brought into the open, I went to Australia. I found a church and some amazing new friends who invited me into their life. I did not feel like doing “Christmas,” but the spirit of God encouraged me to take every invite I received. The choice to fight isolation and embrace the loving people God brought into my life, in turn facilitated healing in my soul, and a renewed trust in the gentle care of God for the broken-hearted.
YOU HAVE A CHOICE.
NEW YEAR’S EVE IS AHEAD…
‘TAKE” OR “MAKE” THAT INVITATION, PLEASE DON’T SIT HOME ALONE.
(Then write me and let me know how this worked for you.)