Happy New Year! (finally)…
Thank you all who read my words in 2017. In 2018, I hope to wrestle with new writing and publishing challenges, I hope you will find comfort or understanding or even controversy in what I write, and I hope resolutions will be kept.
Y’all knew there was a …but…, didn’t you…?
So here it is:
I feel somewhat the same about New Year celebrations and whoopdido’s as I do about the whole “multiple of 5 or 10” birthdays and anniversaries. Why isn’t your 33rd anniversary just as special as your 30th? And, yes, there is merit in restarts and clean slates. But there is nothing innately magical about 12:01 a.m. on January 1.
Getting engaged at the gala New Year’s Eve party or at the stroke of midnight in Times Square, in front of millions? Oh, lovey, how sweet. But truly a bad choice for outdoor activities or dressing up in a strapless gown and strappy shoes. Besides, you are no more “engaged” if the question is asked while the flutterfetti falls or if it’s (oh, good golly, Miss Molly) pouring rain at the highway rest stop (thank you ever so, Jim from The Office). Broadway lights may create way better Instagram posts, but location doesn’t change the sweetness of promising yourself to the one you love. Just ask Pam.
Not tryin’ to buzz your high. But simply putting up a brand spanking-new calendar cannot ease the pain of things that are bleak or sad or just wrong – especially if they are fresh wounds. Catastrophes care little about good timing. Breakdowns are random. Death takes no holidays. People make decisions that are selfish and foolish with no regard that their words or actions crush the souls of others. Even people we thought we loved or once trusted.
All I’m saying is that these past few weeks have been presented to the world as a cure-all for the ills of 2017. For some, it works… making resolutions, setting new goals, facing the future with determination and clean, even more rosey glasses.
But for others, my lovelies, the 1st of January brought only another lonely day. This holiday season will be forever remembered only for the day she said she was leaving. The off-hand How was your Christmas? is more than a water-cooler comment. It’s a reminder of all that was bleak or sad or just wrong.
My sweet lovelies, I don’t recommend facing your colleagues, friends, or more distant relatives with caution or gloom. I don’t want you to view life as “half-empty” or adopt the heavy sigh of Eeyore.
I am, however, thinking of a few people in particular, and those I don’t even know in general, and praying for their peace in a real way. Praying that they can emerge from the fog of disappointment and find life and light sooner rather than later. I’m praying that their crippling pain is eased by time – and the care and prayer of cherished friends.
I am saying…
…if you survived instead of celebrated the holidays
…if you cried more than laughed
…if you hid from joy and avoided the party
…if you hurt in silence…
…if putting up the new calendar was just another item to cross off on the “to-do” list, I am praying for you.
Maybe someday I’ll reveal the who?, what?, where?, and when? that prompted these subdued words. Maybe not. But it doesn’t really matter the tiniest bit, does it? Because we all know someone whose heart was broken just before or during the holidays. We all know people who celebrated their first Christmas without him or her or them. We all know whole families who suffered great loss and struggled to find joy in the traditional lights and laughter of the season.
So for those of us whose holidays were merry and bright, let’s share the love with those who felt sad and dark. Let’s hold their dear souls just a little closer to our hearts and lift them a little higher in prayer. Let’s give them the hug – or the space – they need to begin to heal or feel.
And let’s help them remember the promised light and hope, even in the pouring rain at the highway rest stop.
I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.