Ahh Christmastime. Everyone loves it….
Ok maybe not everyone. It can be a hard time of year. Especially when you’re single. Or you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one.
I honestly never thought I’d be here at this stage of the game. And I definitely didn’t choose it. But damn, I’ve gotten good at it. So good, that I don’t really want anyone to disrupt the certain level of normalcy I’ve created in my house and for my 3 children. I mean, there are a lot of positives. Like. A lot. There’s no drama. No disappointments. No disagreements. No surprises. No leaving the toilet seat up. (Oh wait. That was me.) Just life. Work. Bills. School. Stability. And a little weekend dancing.
But still. It gets lonely sometimes. Especially around the holidays. And missing those moments as a family can be difficult. Because there once was a time when it was magical. And there was a shared joy at the look of wonder and amazement in the eyes of those little ones every year.
The mix of emotions now is ubiquitous. The joy, the gratitude. Along with the reminders of the past, the pain, and the questions that always remain.
For many of us, life didn’t turn out quite how we had planned…or hoped…or prayed…
So you make due with what you have now. You try to better yourself. Get stronger. Forgive. And move on. But just like the cold weather can make your joints hurt a little, sometimes the Christmas season can make your heart ache even a little more.
I was recently watching my favorite TV Christmas special “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. I just couldn’t miss it as a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s. There’s this melancholy overtone about it all. And it always touched something in me. Charlie Brown is sad. He feels isolated and alone. And then he finds that little tree. The tree that nobody else wants. So he decides to take it. Because well, maybe, he sees a little of himself in that tree…And perhaps that’s how he wished he was treated.
He loves that little tree. And the tree becomes beautiful. And he was the only one that saw it’s true potential, because — he knew exactly how it felt to be alone.
Being alone can actually be a good thing. It can be a gift – in its season. It can change your perspective about life. Cause you to grow in ways you couldn’t before. And give you the ability to recognize things in others that you never saw before. But you do have to be careful. Because loneliness can lead to depression, and bitterness, and addiction…like so many fall victim to year after year.
But realize this. Because just like this Christmas season will eventually end, life is full of all types of seasons, and they are constantly changing. And for some reason, usually we tend to want the one we aren’t currently in. (Summer, please!) But maybe, we just need to try to enjoy the season we are in. The one we’re in right now…
I had a bit of an epiphany this summer while I was doing a job for a customer of mine. I walked into her house, like I do every three months or so, and suddenly it all came back to me…
Her husband had been sick, and I remembered it wasn’t very good last time I was out…
“He’s gone”, She said with a strong yet tender tone.
I looked at her and my heart just sank…”Oh no, I’m so sorry….”
“Oh don’t be sorry. He was an incredible gift, that man. We were married 41 years.”
“41 years?!? Wow, that’s incredible.”
But what she said next really struck me…
“He asked me to marry him when he was 50 years old. And what a beautiful 41 years we had together.”
41 years together…and so grateful.
I wanted to cry.
Because who has 4 decades together anymore???
As that sunk in I was just floored…and maybe a little humbled I guess.
After a marriage of 16 years sometimes I feel like I gave it everything I got – and now the best in life is behind me. But I was given perhaps a little different perspective from the other side. A very happily married couple had four decades together…and they started at the age of 50.
Sometimes that seems like it’s just a little too late to start. But maybe that’s where life really begins? I don’t really know.
But what I do know is — this sweet woman, just a customer that I rarely see, reminded me of something that is so easy to forget —
Our life is a story. We get to help write it. And whatever season we are in right now is not necessarily where it will end. Just because something isn’t happening now doesn’t mean that it never will.
Being alone? It can last for a season. Months. Years. Decades. We don’t know.
But however long, realize that seasons always come to an end. Enjoy the one you are in right now. That’s what I want to do. It’s only temporary.
And if this Christmas you are alone…
It can actually be a gift. Because…
There is a little tree. Or a person. Or a child. Or a stranger. Or a friend. Who is alone too. You may be the only one who sees it. And you just might have the perfect gift to give them this year.
Merry Christmas my friends. See ya next year:)