It’s the holiday season. The year is drawing to a close. If you are reading this article, the end of the Mayan calendar came and went with no apparent disruption, at least not to your ability to get your hands on a copy of this blog. For some people, it is a time for enjoying loved ones, traveling to be with family, or hosting travelers in your home. For others, the holidays aren’t so pleasant. Family relationships are not the best. Perhaps years ago some rift happened that drove people apart. There has been a break in the fence that no one has been able to mend.
If you have a close, loving family, this article probably isn’t for you. If you have stress in your family, if you and your loved ones are separated by miles or by strain, or if the holidays are a time of sadness for you, then read on. You are not alone.
For many years, I lived half way across the country from my loved ones. I am from a very close family, but the challenge of tight work schedules combined with geographic distance made it difficult for us to be together on the holidays. That was in and of itself a sad situation for me. I remember several times walking through a big box store or a department store very early in the season, having tears in my eyes as I would hear the song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” playing. I knew I wouldn’t be home that year. So instead, I enjoyed the holidays with my friends, who became my holiday family. My house was the house others came to who were also far away from home. Year upon year, it became a tradition for us to be together, and it was a house full of love.
Think about all of the soldiers who are serving our country – in reality, serving you and me– who are half way around the world this holiday season. No mom or dad to hug them. No wife, husband, or special someone to keep warm at night. The kisses from their little children so far away. The holidays for them are a lonely, distant place as well.
One particular Christmas, I remember the telephone ringing at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. It was my dad’s brother. More than 10 years before, following the death of one of their parents, my dad, his brother, and several of their other siblings and spouses sat in the lawyer’s office going through details of what to do with the family farm. Differences arose in that meeting over whether any in-laws should be involved at all, or whether it was best to leave things between the siblings. I don’t even know what exactly happened, but that day marked the beginning of a 10-year estrangement between my dad and his brother.
So when that telephone rang, that 10-year silence was broken. Two brothers visited on the telephone like no time at all had passed. No mention was ever made about that day in the lawyer’s office. The call was just about the “now” in life. With their love as their bond, those two men marched forward in life letting bygones be bygones.
As you approach this holiday season, if you have separation from someone, differences with a family member, or if you’re just a long way from home, make that telephone call. Make several if you need to. And if a simple call will not resolve your situation, don’t be alone. Help a friend in need. Spend time at the local shelter serving holiday meals to the less fortunate. Call a friend, or several, who will not be with their families and form a little holiday group of your own. In doing so, you are not only doing yourself a favor, you are also delivering love and attention to others in need. You see, you are the special holiday gift someone else really needs this season. By looking outside of yourself, your own needs are healed.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a New Year full of every blessing.