The One About Empty Chairs and Hard Holidays

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I know it hurts.

You are scrolling through Facebook and all those perfect families seem so complete, as they sit at the table and smile. And all you can think about is how you have to go to two Thanksgivings today because a promised forever was cut short. The table is full of extravagant appetizers and delicious meals, all trying to distract you from that empty chair. And you are reminded that your family isn’t whole. Still, you try to be happy, but it hurts.

Or maybe its different. Because that empty chair isn’t empty by choice. Its empty because God called someone home early. Maybe before you were ready. And you feel like you took all the Thanksgivings before for granted. Your ears begin to echo with his laugh. And that sound that once made you erupt with a smile, now makes your chest tighten as you think about how things won’t ever be like they were.  And you force feed yourself a bowl of happiness, but it still hurts.

I know it hurts.

Because there are things that are broken and there are things that are missing, and it seems like grief works over time on the holidays.

Today, you feel estranged to the magic and the wonder. You feel compelled to feel good and to make sense of the disconnect that you feel.

This doesn’t make you unthankful, or unappreciative. This makes you human.

If today you feel heartbroken, it is okay.
If today you feel cheated out of time, it is okay.
If today you feel more attentive to the things that you have lost, then the things that you have, it is okay.

It is okay to be human.

It is okay to wish things were different. But I hope you don’t let the sadness overwhelm you.

I hope this season that you welcome the joyous reunions, and that you linger in the warm embraces. That you fall victim to contagious laughter and that you marvel at the memories that you are making.

I hope peace falls open you and that hope rises within you.  

But most of all I hope you don’t stop believing in miracles.

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