Where is the joy in this year’s holiday season? My Christmas tree is sitting on the table waiting for me to decorate it. It has been there for three days. I can’t seem to bring myself to find the joy, the excitement I usually have in decorating the house and tree.
Why? I think grief hangs over many of us right now and shadows our emotions. Grief keeps us from seeing the Light, the beautiful, the joyous. Grief covers all.
I didn’t personally lose anyone from covid, yet I am feeling a small bit of the emotional loss so many are feeling. My sense of their loss is but a drop in the ocean compared to the grief of those whose mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, or friend feel.
As a country we are affected, each in our own way, by the grief that hangs over all of us.
What to do about it? How to find a bit of joy? How to smile, at least inside, while decorating the tree?
First we have to recognize that to some degree we are all grieving this season. Then we make a conscious decision to lift the heavy veil and peek beyond it, let a bit of light and joy in.
Now is the part where I tell you how to do that, how to let the light in. I’m not sure there is a pat answer to that question. I’m not sure there is a “do this and you will feel better” message for everyone. I think we each have to find our own way. I think the advice, the sharing, the many ideas on grief, on living our best life are offerings for us to search through, to try on like shoes in a store. Somewhere in the sampling we can find what holds true for us, find what makes sense in our sorrow, our confusion, our disarray.
My holiday wish for you is to include all those you love, whether alive or gone from you, in this season. Talk in your heart to those not physically present, share yourself with them as you share your physical presence with others. Don’t be afraid to talk about those who have died. "Remember when Dad did---." "Oh, Mom would have loved ---."
And try to not be alone. Reach out to others, be with others. It's been a hard year and a half. Let’s let some Light in.
A well loved,respected physician in my town just suddenly passed at age 53. I cannot imagine how his family and colleagues must be feeling right now.
Every day is a gift. Live it. Gail
Thank you for this. I feel the depth of care and wish for connection in your message.
I also heard a deeper calling in myself when I read your words: to bring my full, openhearted attention to what I am experiencing just as it is, without trying to change it or to find something lighter, happier, or more comfortable. By surrendering to it, I find the darkness less scary and dark, its stubborn need to be seen loosens its grip, and the relief I seek comes into my view and reach. It’s counter intuitive and yet this shows itself over and over again when I dare to stay with myself in the toughest of times.
BK Books replied:
Hi Patty, wise words but so hard to follow. Seems we are always looking for better. Blessings! Barbara
I read your blog, was comforted, then came back to it and printed it out for myself because it is so meaningful and so that I can really internalize the hope and suggestions. I’m so grateful for you, your work, and all those who have shared, especially Minna Bruce.
As I have become more sensitive to the grief and suffering of others, I have become more vulnerable. This creates a challenge which requires energy to meet, and I am so selfish with my energy, especially as I grow older and seem to have less. I want the light and joy of the season to come “naturally”, and as you and Minna have pointed out, it’s missing. It’s a comfort to know that it is not due to some flaw in me, but an almost universal reaction to having change forced upon us, and the “pain…of Love with nowhere to go”. I pray for the strength to pull open the door to light and joy and to pass it out to others. Thank you.
BK Books replied:
Hi Marcie, you’re right, we have to make an effort to find joy and give it to others this year because it seems so hard to find. What is the saying “If everyone lit just one little candle what a bright world this would be”? How about if everyone was just a bit kinder to each other what a peaceful world this would be. Blessings to you. Barbara
Barbara, God Bless you. I lost my wife/spouse this year to blood cancer. After 51+ years of being my sole companion, I miss her so much. She is deep in my heart but missing her physical presence is unbearable at times.I just got over a 3 week quarantine for the covid infection and during that times that,I had many thoughts of going to be with her!.
This Christmas will be a very bleak one without her smiling face and presence.
BK Books replied:
Hi Johnny, this will be a very hard Christmas. I understand how difficult it must have been being alone and sick. This country is filled with grief then to add the grief you are experiencing with the death of your beloved wife I can see how it was unbearable at times. You might think of a project you can be involved in that would please your wife, that would make her smile and be proud of you. Let how will you continue living and what you do with your life be your message of your love for her. My blessings are with you. If you want to write me directly, about anything, use my personal email firstname.lastname@example.org Barbara
Hi Cathy, share this Christmas with your brother. You might make a Christmas card for him and write your thoughts, feelings and love in it. Hang it on the tree. Could become a family tradition. Blessings! Barbara
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