“December, Fat Boy! This month is for MY Holiday! Now hop in that sleigh and WAIT your TURN!” Editorial Cartoonist
The day after Halloween, I began getting messages about Thanksgiving and Christmas. It happens before every Valentine’s Day, too. The day after Christmas, hearts were everywhere for the “Love” holiday. It seems for a woman going through an unwanted divorce, the holidays are often seen through the lens of despair and not delight. I get messages like this: “This is the first year of the last 30 that I have not cooked Thanksgiving dinner.” And this: “I just want to go to bed and wake up and it’s January 1st.” Believe me, I know the feeling. I have been exactly there. I have cried opening the boxes of decorations. I have spent holidays with extended family while “my” family was with him and his new wife. So I know those are difficult adjustments. But from where I am I want to tell you something. This struggle you are dealing with is truly refining you. These tears you are crying are teaching you lessons you can’t see right now. After this experience, every single holiday you spend with people you love is an incredible, incredible blessing. And you become more sensitive to others who are going through tough stuff. Your heart expands. And I get messages, too, from women who even in the middle of the despair start seeing how this is happening right now. Women who write things like this R.A.D.I.C.A.L. Woman:
“I have come to realize this is a season for growth in appreciation in the blessings I have each and every day … even the dogs! I cherish and value in the most absolute way, these blessings. They are instrumental in the peace and acceptance experienced today. I thought I was cast aside, yet it was only by one, whereas many came to my side to scoop me up and tend my wounds. I will be ever so indebted to these loved ones for the rest of my life. (This experience) has pointed out when I have turned my head away from someone who has needed that same love and compassion. I intend to use this love and compassion as an example or model to follow and hopefully give it to help others who may need it. I have come to realize it’s what life is all about … tending to your loved ones and ones in need. That is where I am today.”
The lessons you are all learning through this struggle are powerful, and I guarantee that you will look back at this experience and see it as a point of transformation to a deeper, more beautiful, more loving you. That is something to be thankful for. After this you get just a tiny inkling of the suggestions in the Bible that we should count it joy when suffering comes our way. That’s difficult in the middle of it. I know that, firsthand. But I absolutely know, too, the rewards are unbelievable.
Here’s how Aeschylus puts it back in 500 B.C.: “He who learns must suffer. Even in our own despair, against our will comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” Aeschylus: 525-426 BC. Keep this in mind as you prepare for Thanksgiving. Remember, you still have so, so many things that should cause you to give thanks! And new wisdom is already on it’s way! By the way, take a deep breath and just enjoy this holiday in the moment … however you are celebrating!
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed and not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 (The Message)