Gush Gently

Christmas is in three days.

If one believes what they see on the interwebs, most people’s homes smell of sugar cookies and look like a Hallmark card: trees (yeah-”trees”, plural. People have more than one Christmas tree now-what is that??), lights, wreaths, blow-up Snowmen in front yards that melt into piles of dirty sheets in the daylight, perfectly decent looking vehicles completely defiled with stuffed antlers and puffy red noses, huge piles of gifts, peppermint or cranberry-flavored everything, Elves on Shelves, dancing and singing battery-operated Santas…

God help us all: the Pinterest-y Christmas abounds.

But, for many, this time of year is unbearably painful and cold, and the well-intentioned awkward words of others (“Next year will be different, ” “You’ll be stronger in the long run,” “Yeah, that’s really tough”, “You need to trust in God’s larger plan”, “I understand”) often fall as flat as a Southerner attempting to empathize with a Northerner suffering through their third week of sub-zero temperatures and no sunlight. Sometimes, the reality of the pain others are dealing with just can’t be comprehended unless you’ve been there:

“Are the days of winter sunshine just as sad for you, too? When it is misty, in the evenings, and I am out walking by myself, it seems to me that the rain is falling through my heart and causing it to crumble into ruins.” -Gustave Flaubert

“Are the days of winter sunshine just as sad for you, too? When it is misty, in the evenings, and I am out walking by myself, it seems to me that the rain is falling through my heart and causing it to crumble into ruins.” -Gustave Flaubert

There’s a man who still can’t find work and is expecting
an eviction notice at the end of the month,

There’s soldiers far from home,
wondering why the hell they’re still far from home,

There’s families dealing with their first Christmas
After the Separation, After the Cancer Took Him,
After the Miscarriage, After the Divorce,
their time divided now into
Before and After
 so many dark personal griefs,

There’s families dealing with their first Christmas
After the Storm,

all of the mementos of their memories just…gone,

There’s elderly women who used to be
matriarchs of their families
laying in lonely beds in nursing homes,

There’s a child who’s lost a parent,

There’s an entire town still suffering from
the loss of its children,

There’s disillusioned believers,
non-believers who wish they could follow the star,
and people of other faiths,
who all tiptoe through this season on broken spiritual glass,

There’s airline pilots, first responders, truck drivers, and doctors
for whom Wednesday will just be another workday,

There’s a widower whose bed is so large and so cold.

For many people, the holidays are hard, and now the constant flood of personal marketing on social media can make them even harder. For the sake of these people who ache quietly this time of year, please, when sharing and spreading the joy in your home this holiday season via social media, keep them in mind, and gush gently.

 

This entry was posted in childhood, Christmas, compassion, depression, facebook, family, Grief, holidays, loneliness, pain, photography, Pinterest, pop culture, Social Media, Storms, Stress, Twitter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gush Gently

  1. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that the Coventry Carol touches me so. Whatever we celebrate we should look for the peace first, and glitter later. Holding you in my heart.

  2. Stacy says:

    This is such a needful post…may I share it? You have expressed exactly what I feel in my heart but just don’t have the words.

You look like you want to say something. Go right ahead.