Surrounded by people so many faces, so few connections. The more people you see the more it feels like you are actually adrift at sea. Bobbing and floating in a swell so big and rough that you will never be seen.
Maybe some people seek you out, say hello and then float off on their way. Or is it with the seas being so rough randomly bumping into someone is inevitable?
This is how some of the Christmas functions we attend at this time of year make me feel.
The real reason for the season is amazing. The birth that allowed the promise of eternal life, with freedom from Sin. Even the cheesy commercial elements of Christmas can make you feel good, provided you are in a position to do all the things that you want to for the people that you care about.
The season itself though can be a challenge. Family issues and financial stress come to the fore. Work goes nuts before a break you so badly need. You know no matter how you plan something unexpected will pop up.
Maybe you are one of the people that doesn’t actually get the chance to stop, so you need to try and fit those extra family events into an already busy schedule, or deal with family not understanding when you won’t be somewhere, even though you wish you could be.
Ultimately I start thinking of people.
Those who have passed but still make me smile just by thinking about them. I wonder what they might have been doing if they were still here. What they think of my life and choices now that they can’t tell me themselves.
Relationships I have, that lift me up, strengthen me. Knowing that without these I could not be who I am.
The strained relationships, where things are not as I, or they wish. But where we keep trying. Are the problems my fault or theirs? Does answering that question really matter as long as we both try? How much am I willing to bend / ignore to just make things easier?
I have been blessed with many important friendships, relationships that have shaped me and the choices I have made. Some of these friendships run their course and I look back with a happy heart. Others will last forever, and at least have so far. Maybe changing over time, but at their core always being important and something I can draw strength from.
The unexpected lost though always make me stop and think. A small number of people I always expected to be there for life, that just aren’t. I am sure they have their reasons, even if I will never know what they are. I cherish the memories that I have, while sometimes mourning the future that never was. On a good day day I think it is not knowing the why that makes me wonder and regret. On a bad day I wonder if it guilt, even if I can’t remember a reason to be guilty. Do these people think of me as I think of them? Is it sadder if they do, or don’t? Would letting these friendships go change me in a way that is better or worse? For now I don’t want to decide.
Christmas at its core is about a great event and hope, but it is also about people. No matter who or where you are someone matters to you and you matter to someone. Draw strength from this. At this time even the smallest acts of kindness from a stranger can make the biggest difference.