“I hate to say it, but the way it seems is that no one is fine. Take time to peel back a few layers and you will find true sadness.” So say the Avett Brothers. Sounds better in 4-part harmony, but you get the point.
Christmas is hard. There. I said it. Most of us are trying to please too many people or live up to unrealistic standards of joy and giving. In a society of constant information and feedback, our brains are on overload trying to process it all. Let’s be honest. It’s overwhelming.
Even the most outwardly “put together” people have struggles. Take me for example. I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We have two perfect kids. We own a business. We’re photogenic to a fault. Reality? Everyday I’m struggling physically & financially to stay alive after a near death illness five years ago.
"This Christmas has been harder than expected. As recently as Tuesday I was wondering if I can skip Christmas. I’m grieving some close personal losses and my never ending medical expenses have strained my heart and wallet. I wanted to be able to help a grieving family this year, but I saw no way I could help a mourning family plus have the funds for my own Christmas. So I did what I do best. Complain.
I reached out to a couple girlfriends and let them know my existential misery was surely worse than any ever suffered. I whined about every petty thing disrupting my perfect existence. Getting it out made me feel some better. Misery might not love company, but telling others about your misery is calming. Selfish, but calming.
Within a few hours one of the kindest, most generous friends i have showed up at my business with gifts for the family in mourning. What makes this extra special? She’s never met these people. I was hurting for them so she was too. Double extra special? My friend has had a horrible year. One of her children was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness & the battle has been hard. Yet she saw the suffering of another and stepped up with abundance.
Really this was enough to taper my grinchiness, but an hour later a customer came into my business and made a purchase exactly the amount i needed to fund my own Christmas. God? Fate? Miracle? Magic? Needless to say, my heart grew three sizes.
These events might seem insignificant to those who are greatly suffering, but let it offer you hope. Tiny magical miracles are everywhere. We just have to open our hearts to see.