Tuesday, December 07, 2010
It's a herculean challenge for the bereaved to feel enthusiastic during the holidays. Those jolly mall songs don't resonate with the ache in the heart. There are bittersweet memories lurking everywhere. The memories pop unbidden out of old photo albums and sagging boxes filled with the accumulation of years of ornaments. I hang these memories on the tree and mantle, as I have repeatedly over the years, but now they look different. A few of those time-worn ornaments stand out from the crowd. They belong to My Child... who was a brother, a friend, a precious beloved... who is no longer part of this world. Instead of cheer, they represent emptiness, loss and pain. They bring a sharp stab in the heart and tears, not the warmth and smiles they once engendered. They are this month's reminders of a story with a tragic ending. And all of us who knew him closely, his circle of companions, we all quietly mourn him this month. I can picture each of them lonely for his presence. I feel it in my tight chest, my shallow breathing, and in the silence of the night. I hurt for me and I hurt for them.
I used to live in an innocent world where Christmas was simply a busy amalgamation of gift shopping, culinary overload and childish delight. Now it's complicated. It's an aching annual reminder of someone with whom I will never share another holiday. It hurts like crazy.
And Elvis had it right, "I'll have a blue Christmas without you. I'll be so blue just thinking about you". Blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas.
This is my 3rd and now I am resigned to it. My happy ending will be found elsewhere, in the world to come. The sad Christmas carols in the minor keys, the ones that no one likes to sing, are the only ones that apply salve to my broken heart. They remind me that in spite of relentless sorrow there is an unquenchable rumor of HOPE. Though I am required to endure this heavy burden of loss, I will nonetheless, by faith, put my trust in the Almighty God. The one who promises to turn my sorrow into dancing.
O come, O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
Who mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Shall come to thee, O Israel.