Friday, November 23, 2012

Loving & Hating

I have a love-hate relationship with holidays.

As much as I can be thankful for things and appreciate all the good stuff going on and genuinely love so many aspects of them, there's an element of sorrow that accompanies each day of celebration and family fun. I can't avoid the feelings of loneliness that always seem to surface, and I can't seem to escape the 'shoulds'.

On a day where you 'should' be surrounded by the people you love and care about the most, there's always a void when those people aren't there...or simply don't exist yet. Holidays make me miss ex-boyfriends. They make me ever-aware of my singleness...especially as I'm always the fifth wheel (or, in my family's case... the 9th wheel).

It's a sad, pathetic story... I know. It's probably one that some of you aren't too unfamiliar with yourself. Only, I'm blogging about it for the world to see which makes me feel especially pathetic. I'm blogging about it, assuming (or hoping) that you might also have a love-hate relationship with holidays.

As much as they can be a reminder of what we have, I fear that they also remind us of what we do not have. Sometimes it reminds us that our families are broken. Sometimes it reminds us of those who have hurt us deeply. Sometimes it reminds us that we are alone.

I talked to a friend briefly yesterday whose parent's are recently separated. Two separate Thanksgivings after being accustomed to one.... not two because of having to split between in-laws due to the joys of marriage. Holidays can become a source of a pain, a reminder that once was no longer is. For my friend, I felt the pang of the love-hate relationship with this holiday...aware that my loneliness and singleness was a far cry from the hurt being experienced in the wounds of separation.

I know this isn't unfamiliar territory for many of you... many of you who have been dealing with this split for a lot of your lives. And I've been wondering if one of the reasons we love holidays so much is because of the hope that it embodies for us. That there's this captivating feeling that surrounds them...maybe our parents will get back together, maybe our families will be reconciled, maybe our ex's will want us back, maybe we will meet someone new, maybe the voids/hurts/pains that shouldn't be there will suddenly be erased and all will be made new.

There's something magical about holidays. Or, at least I want there to be something magical about them. And sometimes, I think our excitement for the holidays is this misplaced hope. We get more excited about reunions with family and friends than we do the real meaning behind them...sometimes I'm not even sure we care about the meaning behind them. I mean... Thanksgiving? What are we really celebrating here?

Mostly I just want to acknowledge that sometimes holidays suck. And as much as we put our happy faces on and spew out the thousands of things we're thankful for because that's what people apparently do on social media all day long during the month of November... if you're one of the people who is hurting, who is having a hard time, who is angry, who doesn't feel so thankful... I want you to know that you're not alone.

Sometimes holidays are hard.
Sometimes they remind of us crappy things.
Sometimes, I think it's okay for us to admit that it's hard vs. put on the facade that we're in the holiday spirit and everything is okay.

Mostly...I hope that the holidays move us toward a searching for a greater fulfillment. I hope they move us past hoping solely for our families, our friends, and our love lives to sustain us. As I was lying awake for a while last night, thinking about how different this Thanksgiving was than year's past...feeling lonely even in the midst of a great family... I realized this wasn't something they could fix. And it wasn't something even the perfect man could fix.

Because my loneliness screams of a deeper loneliness, a deeper void that I keep trying to fill with things that don't last, with things that don't matter.

If the holidays are hard for you...
Let them be hard, but don't get stuck in hopelessness.
I think there's still much for us to hope in, much for us to hope for.
You don't have to be a scrooge, but you don't have to be fake, either.

And at the darkest moments of your despair and the heightened moments of your joy and happiness, I pray that you would find the hope of Jesus Christ. That you would find the redemption, the life, and the promises He made true. I pray that you would find Him faithful...even when it looks different than how you might have envisioned it all.

I love this season.
But I also hate it.
I think that's okay... because I'm still hopeful for more than this.

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  1. I hate Christmas for this very reason. Seriously, this made me cry.

  2. Weird, I was also kinda thinking about this last night. And I came to the conclusion just like you, that this stuff can't truly fulfill me, not even a guy who may come to love me someday. They are gifts from The Giver. So freakin' thankful for the hope we have in Jesus.