I love the holidays. I love that frothy, steaming cup of seasonally flavored coffee, that we rush to get as if we can only have it during this time of year….like “Thank God! Gingerbread and Peppermint exist again, all hail!” I love an excuse to buy gifts for my family and friends. I love that it is a time that despite our differing schedules, we make time to sit around the table together. (Although with 2020 the tables may be smaller, the dinners might even be virtual, now that we’ve all had to learn the world of Zoom and Google Meet, but nonetheless, we will make time.) I love cheesy Christmas movies, and family traditions. I love all the warm and fuzzy that it brings.
But, then there’s that ache. That tiny little hole, as I’m standing alone under the mistletoe. And I do, every year. I find mistletoe hanging, and I stand under it, one foot propped, kissing the air, as if to make a joke of the fact that, here I am again. But, it’s not a joke, and frankly as year after year passes the joke has turned into total loss of hope at times.
I don’t know why it is that the holidays amplify this feeling, as if it’s any different to be alone in September than it is in December, but somehow it feels much worse. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times we hear a plethora of pop queens singing “Santa Baby, I forgot to mention one little thing…a ring” paired with a social media feed showcasing the list of all the good girls who got that ring this year. Knowing Jesus and Santa are both watching I hit the “love” button, because I am happy for my loved ones. But, it still hurts.
I don’t know where to go with the feeling anymore. Most times the joking is easier, because everyone can laugh and understand that. When joining friends for a festive dinner and the waitress removes the extra plate, looking at me like, “oh, you’re by yourself,” I order the drink named “The Dirty Uncle” and laugh saying, well, the uncle is my date. Or there’s the pointing to random bypassers, suggesting that maybe they could be the one.
I think about all those Hallmark movies and wonder if maybe I should slip on the ice and knock myself out, only to wake up in a new reality of Mr.Wonderful sweeping me off of my feet, literally, and inviting me to Christmas dinner with his family.
The thing about movies and social media is that people always say, “that stuff isn’t real, love isn’t like that, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you’re looking for that.” But, I refuse to believe in that notion. Even in losing hope, I still see the happiness of my friends when I’m playing the “extra wheel,” and though their love might not be quite so dramatic as those holiday rom coms, it is still very real. And there is hope in that.
I guess what I want to say to those of you who are living in the seasons you’ve spent dreaming of when ‘Tis the Season rolls around, please be mindful of your friends or family that aren’t quite there yet. I don’t mean that in a “lessen your glow” sort of way. Please keep your lights shining bright, I truly am happy to see you shining, and to be a part of it. But, maybe stop the jokes, when your friends in the dry season make fun of themselves, tell them not to do that. Remind them how wonderful they are. Remind them that their plate at the table isn’t an extra, or missing another half, but that their presence is what makes your group whole. Remind them that this isn’t forever, that their season is coming, and pray daily that it does.
I’m thankful to have a group of friends that do all of those things. I have prayed hard for them to be living in their current seasons that they have so desired. And you know what? I’ve seen those prayers answered, so I can testify that it works.
To my friends that are not quite ready for this “Tis the Season time of year, I want you to know that it’s okay if it’s not your season. It’s okay to be happy and sad at the same time, (thanks Kacey Musgraves.) I pray that your cheer is greater than your ache, and that this time next year we’re writing a totally different story.