I was at a Christmas party on the weekend where I didn’t know many people (for a grieving introvert, that’s as painful as it sounds). A group of people was discussing the many reasons why they didn’t feel the holiday spirit this year – all very reasonable, valid, and appropriate reasons to be a Grinch, I might add – no snow, too busy, bored of the same old thing. Yes, I’m not kidding; someone actually said they were bored of Christmas. I bit into my cheese ball, polished off my punch, and backed away, determined not to allow them to steal my Christmas.
Shaking my head, I wondered: they might have lost their cheer, but there are so many who have lost a lot more. ‘Tis the season’ where grieving spouses across the globe dig deep to unearth that feeling they once had with their loved ones during the holidays. Let’s face it, if we were to stay in that circle of oozing warmth and share our stories of lost cheer, we’d have them all choking on their cheese balls…better to walk away?
Just as I was about to pull out my phone to call a taxi, I bumped into an old acquaintance who I see about once a year; each time she shares her latest baby news. With four children under 5, there was a lot to express. First came the twins, followed by two more. I was fascinated by her story – from her four-year pregnancy to her plight to stay sane while nurturing home, work, and marriage. And then she looked at me and said, “And I think of you every time I feel myself going to that dark place.” She continued to express how my strength inspired her to keep going to find the patience and persevere when her life seemed too overwhelming to endure. My jaw dropped. I hardly know her, and she only knows the Coles notes version of my story. How could I possibly have that kind of impact on her life?
There is no greater gift. The courage I found to rebuild my life has given others the inspiration to live theirs. In a world full of imperfections, success can be found not only in what you’ve overcome but in what you’ve inspired others too. I don’t think there is a more meaningful gift than that of hope… and the wisdom to know when it’s time to leave the party. 😉
Wishing you peace and hope this holiday season.