I was visiting my friend in Louise who lives in another state. When I travel there with my husband we always stay at the same hotel where I also take office hours. I've gotten to know some of the staff, particularly one of the managers. Mourning the loss of her husband a couple of years ago, she said that seeing my husband and me together always made her smile. Over visits during our talks, we developed a warm, but casual acquaintance. Despite her friendly personality, there was always something just behind the smile that looked like a "checking out". On one of my visits last year, I gave her a copy of Consider The Possibilities and asked her to tell me what she thought of it when I came back.
I was surprised when, in a subsequent visit, she said, "I've been waiting for you all. I have something for you." She has been buying little trinkets to give away to people as a way of cheering them up. She said, "I'm collecting some things for a homeless person I see frequently. My heart is opening up. I'm writing a new script." My gift was a little bluebird of happiness. She doesn't look checked out anymore but is engaging in life.
The holidays, especially, can create swings of emotions that range from euphoria to deep sadness and loneliness. Before we know it, we can be overcome with longing for a loved one who has transitioned, or the desire to sleep until January 1st.
This blog is to remind you that there is still purpose for your life. Here are three things I suggest to confront feelings of overwhelming grief or sadness that many face during the holidays:
Talk to someone. Whether you reach out to a therapist, a minister or a trusted friend, share what you are going through. Receiving empathy from another human is good for us; we were not created to do life alone.
Do something outwardly focused. We humans can be selfish; thinking the world should stop because we are in pain. The reality is that the world keeps turning. (It felt hard to say that, even on a computer.) There are other humans who need your unique way of being and seeing. Don't deprive yourself of the chance to see your greatness on display. Don't deprive the world of what you uniquely have to offer.
Plan for what you want to do in three months, six months and three years from now. You DO have a future. Find a goal that will challenge your mind and body and set a deadline to complete it.
You won't always feel grief or loneliness as you do now. There will come a time when the memory of those you love will bring smiles instead of tears. In the meantime, honor the journey that is still yours to take. You are loved.
Have you Considered The Possibilities? A short book that will make a big difference.