Just My Thoughts… ‘Tis The Season
December 18 2019
Early in the hours of Thanksgiving morning my favorite Uncle died. Now, lest you think this is going to be a sad commentary amidst the JOY of advent, let me clarify. My uncle was nearly 93, and he had led a rich, full life. Widowed for over 15 years, and in failing health the past 2 or 3, he was ready to go be with Jesus.
He was a teacher, primarily of high school students. And every day he would put on a tie and sport coat before going to school. When he came home in the afternoon, he would take off the coat and put on a cardigan sweater. Every day.
He was, in the eyes of my youth, my own Mr. Rogers.
He was a jovial man; empathetic, polite, patient. And kind. He was so very kind.
And so for the past few weeks, amidst the chaos of the holidays and travelling great distances for the funeral, and being in the presence of my small and quickly dwindling extended family, I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness.
We live in a city/country/world that is just chalk full of everything that is the opposite of kind. And when you add what has become the high demand of “the perfect Christmas” on top of it, things get sticky. And when you put on top of THAT whatever personal struggle might be going on in your personal life on any give day, you’ve got the perfect fixin’s for an absolute pressure cooker.
I mean, let’s be honest, we all have what I call “life-stuff” weighing on us. Life-stuff: you know, that narrative that plays in your mind every night when your head hits the pillow. A sick kid, a wretched boss, aging parents, a dying spouse, a stolen credit card, a failing transmission, an empty bank account….any ONE thing of this nature is stressful. But most of us have multiple things like this churning within us. And now, on this week before Christmas, we have the shopping and the cooking and the house guests and the unruly grandpas and, and, and, and….
I would like to propose that everyone on the planet just take a really, deep breath right now. Nope – a deeper one. Unclench your jaw, let your shoulders fall away from your ears (because I know they are shoved all the way up there) and find your kindness. Because in the next few days, we are all going to come in contact with a whole lot of folks who are at the absolute breaking point. Yes, it is the happiest time of year, but it might be the saddest for some. It is easily the most stressful for most of us. Some of us might be in the loneliest, most heart breaking season of our lives.
You just don’t know!
So please, I beg you. Find your kind. Smile at a stranger, hold the door open for others going into the store, let that stupid car into the merging lane even though it’s had MORE than ample time to merge. Let’s just all assume that everyone is doing the best that they can under the circumstances in which they are living and cut each other some grace right now. Please don’t add to the whirlwind.
And most importantly, find some kindness for yourself! It is 100% OK to not be 100% OK right now. If you are feeling a little – or a lot – dark in this season of Light, please be kind and gentle with yourself and know that 1) it is OK and 2) you are absolutely not alone. Others are feeling similarly this time of year and there are others of us out there that want to make sure you are OK and are here to help. Or listen. Or talk. Or just make you a soothing beverage and sit with you where you are.
Please reach out to each other with kindness in these next few days ahead. The best thing you can give someone this season is love.
BTW: here’s my favorite picture of my favorite uncle! Rest in peace…