Christmas is finally over. Whew! I’m glad, because this year I boycotted the holiday.
It was one year ago today that Brad and I were supposed to fly into Sarasota, Florida and to begin our five vacation days of enjoying ourselves and being reminded of the blessings we had experienced in our 31 years of marriage. Instead, Brad was admitted into the hospital and we learned the terrible news that he had large cancerous tumor blocking his gut. And so one year ago our awful journey began which ended all too soon in his death.
So, this year I just said “no” to Christmas. It wasn’t a “no” to Jesus coming as Emmanuel or a “no” to God’s love. Instead, it was a “no” to all the moments of happy anticipation as the family gathers around the Christmas tree and or pulls up a chair to the Christmas meal of roast beef. In fact, Brad’s last year Christmas gifts still sit unused in a corner of my closet. I just couldn’t do Christmas this year. Trying to act like a happy family, a whole family, and a contented person, because we aren’t and I am not.
Don’t misunderstand me, I did make and purchase gifts for my immediate family. One of them was a “smart,” shareable PDF memory book of our family life (I plan to make the “Smart-Memory Books” available for sale. They are shareable, dynamic, and interactive multimedia PDF files that celebrate any special moment in yours or a loved one’s life. If interested in learning more or in seeing an example, please contact me!).
Today as I jumped on Facebook to check my latest notifications, I briefly perused through others’ news feed. Of course there were many pictures of the exact family moment around the Christmas tree that I boycotted, but there were also many comments of gratefulness. That was when Facebook began to be dangerous to my mental well-being. Oh this was not the first time that this social media outlet has brought me a sense of disquiet or pain, but I guess I naively didn’t expect it to be so bad today. Maybe, I should have known better.
Several people posted how good God has been to them this year. Some expressed thankfulness that their family members were healthy and had been able to spend Christmas Day together. One individual vaguely mentioned a list of answered prayers that demonstrated to her evidence of God’s presence. Now, I know some of the inside stories of these people’s lives. There have been difficult personal battles that have been fought and attitudes of gratefulness about reaching another Christmas as an intact family make sense to me. I, too, am thankful that they have had that privilege. What hit me though was this thought, “Does God love me less? Is he not as good to me in comparison?” After all, I can’t say I have had the honor of experiencing those same blessings this year. So, is God still good to me?
Most of you know how my life has been turned upside down. My family has had a huge rip in its fabric. I still miss Brad. It is a shock, one in which I have to keep reminding myself of. But, in addition to this loss, I hate being single. From the very core of my being, I hate it. This feeling isn’t just due to dealing with the unexpected and sudden death of Brad. No, me, Kerry, hates living life without a partner. I always have, from my earliest memories, I prefer to be a part of a couple, whether it is doing everything with a best friend or being married. Okay, before you armchair psychologists get going with your theories about my psychological state of mind, I am not saying that I can’t be alone, don’t know who I am, or can’t manage life on my own, because those are not my problems. In fact yesterday (yes, on Christmas Day) I oversaw a major repair long distance on my property due to the recent wind damage. No, what I miss is having is a sense of belonging and, as an introvert, this is best experienced in an intimate relationship.
So, is God being good to me as I walk this wilderness of “aloneness” while many of you gave a sigh of relief that your busy day of too much “people-time” or “family-time” was over? It is a provocative question, and one to which I don’t have any easy answers.
I am confident, however, that despite the particulars of my circumstances, the loving-kindness of God does not change. I am learning that who he is does not depend on my situation. My life has and will continue to change, but God never does. He is the same today as he was yesterday.
I am thankful that many of you were able to post comments on Facebook about how God has blessed you this year through your sweet family moments and many answered prayers. I, however, am grateful that despite the loss of Brad and my many unanswered prayers of today that God still is good—no matter what.