HOLIDAY TIME FEELINGS always come with a bit of complication as we get older, I think. They didn’t always. Come with complication, I mean.
I’ve always loved the Holiday Season. (Let’s call it, for the sake of this conversation, Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day.)
If you struggle with complicated Holiday Time Feelings for whatever reason, perhaps you might not be doing okay. And it’s perfectly okay to be “not okay.”
Lately, I’ve seen several social media posts, reminding us of that truth, and they are a good reminder for those who need to hear it. I’ve needed to hear that truth a few times over the last seven years.
(It’s perfectly okay to be “not okay.” Please, hear that, if you need to hear that!)
THIS YEAR, though, a new/different kind of Holiday Time Feeling (HTF? Yeah, that probably won’t catch on) has risen in my heart, and I wonder if anyone else might need to hear a slightly different exhortation, namely:
It’s also okay to “be okay, again!” It’s okay to be happy!
Perhaps, someone you love has passed, and the Holidays just don’t seem right without them. And maybe you feel like you’d be dishonoring them or something if you enjoyed the time without them being here, the way they used to be.
Maybe, instead of the death of a loved one, there is the death of a relationship (or even several) because of bad decisions you’ve made, and you feel if you were happy during the Holidays, again, you’d somehow be “off the hook,” and you don’t deserve to be let off the hook.
Possibly, you’re afraid that if you feel happy now, (like at a 10!) you must not actually have been as happy as you thought you were before (I thought I was a 10 at the time, but obviously I’ve “never been happier” so, I guess I was maybe at a 9 back then?…), and that might make you sad because you know you were a 10, at the time, and it’s a confusing feeling.
(I told you, Holiday Time Feelings can be complicated! HTF, am I right?!?)
The truth, though, is that when I accept all of the difficult feelings right alongside the fantastically joyful ones, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that all I have is this present moment, and I, alone, get to create what’s in it.
I’ve always found this prayer to be exceptionally helpful to me: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
There is hope for you, dear friend. You don’t need to get *whole* because you already are.
Maybe, it’s still time for you to grieve whatever you might be grieving. That’s totally okay.
Maybe, moving forward is not the same as giving up loving someone(s) you will always hold dear. You never give up loving someone, but things always change. That’s what things do. That’s totally okay, too.
Maybe, comfort and joy aren’t just for those who have figured it all out and have it all together. Comfort and joy are available to anyone at any time, and the Holiday Season always reminds me of that.
If you feel the “peace that passes all understanding” at some point during the Holidays – maybe it’s a song, or a decoration, or a film/tv show, or a story, or whatever it is for you – I urge you to bask in it. Let that feeling of peace wash over you and remind you of your worth which is infinitely incalculable.
I bring you a message of hope, dear friends: You are loved beyond your present understanding, and you are never alone.
Holiday Time Feelings can be complicated, but there is no uncomplicated without the occasional complication. Don’t try to push those feelings aside or pretend they don’t exist. Invite them in for eggnog, visit with them for a bit, then let them fade into the peace of the season.
Let them drift away into a favorite song, or prayer, or ritual, or quiet moment, or pleasant site. Let those complicated feelings melt into a desire to love the next person you see.
Love can, will, and is transforming all of your sufferings into joy.
You deserve joy! Have at it, if you’re ready! (If you’re not, that’s also okay.)
You are the peace you seek.
Peace to you.