I know we have all heard of the holiday blues, and a lot of us have experienced them first hand. What is it about the expectation around us during the holidays to have lots of food, resources, friends and family near, and how many pictures of perfectly manicured families on Facebook and Instagram can we look at before we start to think something is wrong or missing?
I live in middle to upper class suburbia. It is a lovely neighborhood and the perfect picture of the American dream: manicured lawns, mothers walking baby carriages and puppies, children playing in blow up play houses during their lavish birthday parties, fathers teaching their junior high daughters how to drive through the neighborhood in their golf carts. Cars tend to line the streets on holidays. Today is Easter, and this is no exception. Then there is my house. I live with my two dogs, alone. My husband is deployed to another country and has not been home since October. I should have this lonely holiday feeling under control, but it still wells up in my heart every time. My life is not picture perfect. Sometimes I feel surrounded by the picture of perfection. Others may perceive that I too have this life, but I don’t. I go home every night and sleep alone.
This evening I went out to meet a friend for dinner, and I came across my neighbors. They asked me when my husband returns. This question has become increasingly annoying as I have to consistently remind people how much longer until he returns, and they react with shock and disbelief as if I have just told them that someone has died. Then they grumble something about asking them if I need anything and walk on. What am I supposed to ask for? I do not need butter and sugar. I have been single and lived alone before. However, people don’t always know what to say, and these responses can seem even more alienating and lonely then if they just wished me a Happy Easter and went on their way.
Maybe it is time we start focusing more on the emotional needs of others around the holiday seasons. Of course we talk about it, but do we really mean it? Do we really want to be there for the person that does not have a family and lives alone? Studies have shown that loneliness is a major health risk and decreases the life span of individuals. What if we didn’t go to church today, but our church was reading the Bible to an elderly person in the nursing home? Maybe our priorities are not where they should be. Maybe it is okay to mix it up a little bit sometimes.
This season of my life, surrounded by giggling families, fancy feasts, and frilly decor, I am home by myself, alone. I refuse to feel sad or unhappy because in my heart I know that all this hype is a facade. True happiness comes in companionship and love and sincere unconditional positive regard. I don’t need the other things to complete me, and, I am never alone. In the end, God is the only one I truly have with me forever. Isn’t today about him anyway?
In conclusion I have to admit that I am glad for this season of my life, to reflect on all I have and where my priorities lie. Getting away from the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs and fancy tables laden with food, where do your priorities lie? Yes these things are lovely indeed, but lets not forget the things that truly matter, being a friend when nobody has one, offering help when nobody else will, sincerely listening when their story has been told many times.