Yesterday, I was more Facebook vulnerable than is usual for me. I shared, “I don’t love Christmastime.” (I’ll get to the rest of the post in a minute.) Admitting this feels vulnerable because Christmastime is lights, parties, gifts. It is joy, goodwill, peace. What’s not to love? And lots of people do love it...look forward to it all year even. I felt like Debbie Downer.
Except 71 people engaged with the post, some of them admitting their own, as my mom called it, “Grinchiness.”
For many people Christmastime triggers a bout of the blues if not depression. In one study 45% of North Americans surveyed “dreaded the festive season.” Suicides and attempted and suicides are higher at Christmas.
I won’t parse what generally gives, though I expect it has to do with reminiscence. For me, Christmas has been difficult since the death of my husband’s father, Jim. Then, family alcoholism/recovery from alcoholism. Google “alcoholism and “Christmas” sometime.
In part two of the Facebook post, I shared what I’d just found while on a moody walk in Gulley Park with my dog. (I probably shouldn’t listen to Sufjan Stevens on a cold, drizzly, Sunday afternoon at Christmastime.) As Baron and I walked past a big rock at the top of the hill looking down on the pavilion, from where Summer concerts still echo warmth and ease, I noticed a small, ice cube-looking object sitting in a puddle on the top of the rock. I almost walked by it. But I didn’t. And here’s what I found.
I wept. And while there are lots of ways to read, “Look within. You are the world,” in that moment the world wept with me, and I wasn’t alone.
I am so grateful to those who recognize the importance of small acts of kindness, who offer a hand from out of and through the longest night. What you do matters. It is my warmest Christmas wish that some would see LFP that way, too.