This week between Christmas and the New Year is always a special time of the year with nothing much to do but read and curl up on the sofa. The crazy shopping and holiday meals are behind us for another year, and the decorations still make our homes cheerful and cozy, with the fireplace burning, warming the chill in the house.
But this is a time of year when many people are alone, no family to be with and friends scattered around the country visiting their families. I never thought about this fact until this year. This is my first Christmas alone. It is more painful than I thought it would be and it hurts so much, that I can barely get through some days, especially the cold and gray ones. Each day I force myself to do “normal things,” do the laundry, take the pups for a walk, run an errand, read a book or watch a movie. But what do you do, when you look around for your better half, and he isn’t your half anymore?
Losing someone you love, whether through death or divorce, cannot simply be shoved under a rug or ignored like all those years didn’t happen. You don’t just start a “new life and move on” as someone in my family likes to suggest. You can’t run away from all the years you spent together as one, joined together in love in front of family and loved ones. Raising children together, working together, laughing together, crying together and planning together. No one can truly understand, as it is different for each person who goes through this process. It takes time to heal, evidently a tremendous amount of time.
I realized this morning that relationships are like a patchwork quilt. The quilt starts out all shiny and new, with more pieces sewn on as the years go by, held together by the joy and happiness and the grief and sorrow that you feel together. Then one day, there are frayed edges from the wear and tear of the years. If you quickly mend those rips and do everything you can to keep it together, the quilt will last forever. But without the care and attention that it needs, the quilt will fall apart.
How can I make sure that I hold onto the pieces of the quilt that still define who I am? How do I sew up those rips in my heart and find a way to defy this pain and grow stronger? Life rips away the most precious things in life; my son who died a few years ago, my father who died before he reached 60 years of age and my grandma who was the center of my universe growing up, a balance of all the other relationships I had in my life. How did I get through all those losses? My faith in God. My God of Hope.
I have my faith today and every day, and I pray that God will help me get through this season of sadness and grief and healing and growth. I know that He is with me in the darkest of my days. I know that He sees the days before me, that He has a plan for me. I look forward to 2018, for a new start in a new year with new aspirations, and family and friends who love and support me. I have the love of God all around me, like a warm quilt held together with stitches of faith and hope.
“May THE GOD OF HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.