The holiday season is upon us. And with it, fun and excitement and joy and peace and compassionate and goodwill toward men and….
Yeah, judging by my Facebook feed and conversations I’ve had with various people – not so much.
I’m sure many people greatly look forward to the holiday season. (I know some, so I can attest.) They love finding the perfect gifts, writing out the cards, trimming the tree, decking the halls, visiting family and friends, the whole nine yards, fa la la la la.
But for a whole lotta folks, the holidays are hard:
Money’s tight. And getting tighter. Bills may have to wait so the kids can have at least one gift to open. Or maybe they’ve had to explain why Santa isn’t coming this year.
Family’s a mess. There are too many issues to be dealt with in such a short time period so how do they cope and “get through it”?
Or the opposite: they deeply want to be with family and friends but they can’t for any number of reasons.
Time is at a premium already and now they have to do what? And what? And that TOO? It seems like there are just not enough hours in the day. And they are tired before they even begin.
For some, time is not the issue. They feel like they have all the time in the world, but no one to share it with.
Some have lost a loved one and the pain just won’t recede. The hurt seems more acute when they’re around others, so it’s easier just to be by themselves and avoid the holiday “thing” all together.
Others struggle with depression, seasonal affective disorder, chronic pain or other illnesses. Try as they might, they can’t simply turn that off or “fix it” for the holiday season. The heightened “cheer” of others may actually make them feel worse because they just can’t get there.
The list of reasons why the holidays are a struggle for so many can go on and on. Yet time & time again, I hear people dismiss those for whom the holidays are just a plain out and out struggle. They are called “bah humbugs”, “grinches”, and various other things – sometimes in jest (or slightly veiled jest) but often not. Part of that, I would venture to say, is that folks aren’t willing to get deep with those who are struggling; if they do, they might admit that things aren’t as perfect for them as they seem, either. It’s easier to donate to an “adopted” family or child, to drop a toy off in the Toys for Tots box, or serve one day at the soup kitchen than to take the time to bear the burden of someone in your circle of friends and family. And please don’t get me wrong – those are all very good things, in which I too participate year after year. But the question I put forth to you is this: Who in your circle could use a little extra time, friendship, love, care, this holiday season? I’ll bet it’s not hard to think of one…and I’d venture to say more than one comes to mind. I promise you that giving that little extra to someone you love who is struggling this season will make your own just that much sweeter.