you ever have those days when you get all in your feelings and can’t seem to find your way out? that describes me perfectly right now! it started with my older brother posting a poem to my late sister-in-law’s facebook wall. it’s been almost two years but just thinking about her takes me instantly to that place of loss and it feels fresh all over again. how does that work?
i’m guessing the holiday season doesn’t help. it’s hard to spend the holidays with loved ones, painfully aware of those who are missing. her laugh is desperately missed.
most of us know that people are especially susceptible to depression during the holidays. but because we get so caught up in our own lives, we tend to miss opportunities to see those in pain around us. it sucks because this is the one season when being altruistic is encouraged and celebrated. i know, that’s kind of an oxymoron. but i would take a culture that actively promotes service over one that encourages self-centered consumption.
i was raised to make service to others a priority. this philosophy guides all aspects of my life. there is something about serving others that keeps you grounded and puts things in perspective. for me, i need the constant reminder that things are in balance. there is no shortage of pain in the world, but there is no shortage of joy either. being able to identify points of pain and then work to bring joy in those areas is a formula for finding meaning and fulfillment in life. we can’t do everything, but we can do something.
so as i struggled to dry my eyes and finish getting ready for work this morning, i spent time thinking about how i can honor my sister’s memory this season by touching someone around me who is in need of extra care. nothing big and showy. just something authentic and genuine that says i see your pain, and i care. that was the one thing i longed for most as i went through the grieving process. i wanted someone to see that my heart was broken and empty and i felt lost and alone. and i wanted someone to actually be there (physically) without asking me or waiting for an invitation. that’s what you do when someone you care about is hurting. you just show up. i’m asking God to show me who i can show up for during this season.
we’re doing this advent thing at church. i honestly knew very little about the practice of observing advent season outside of that candy calendar from bad santa. i now know it’s about waiting with expectation for the coming of christ. now, i love me some sweet baby jesus, so i can dig a call to wait with expectation. his birth brought so much hope and joy to a bunch of hurting people. there are so many people around us hurting during this season. i want my presence to usher in some joy and hope too. i mean, i’m no messiah, but i was made in his likeness. that counts for something right?