Holidays, a Time of Ambivalence?

Happy Holidays?

Despite the excitement of a successful book launch in late September, the holidays are a time of ambivalence. I know I’m not alone on this score by a long shot.

Partly it’s built-up expectations. The pictures you see, the sentiments you hear, the pressure to gather ’round a popping fire with smiling family and friends, cradling mugs of cocoa or hot toddies, singing carols or old family favorites, demonstrably appreciating the closeness of relationships…. If only it could be like that for all of us. I pray it is for you.

But my family has had its share of problems, and they aren’t abating. Beyond some serious health issues which appear to have been the catalyst, there’s a total lack of communication, at best misunderstandings, and the damage the passing of time brings. Like water under the proverbial bridge, we all find ways to survive, try new pathways, attempt to thrive in the brave new world we find ourselves inhabiting.

It’s just that the holidays tend to bring ‘all that was’ back into the foreground. And despite the sadness of what is no longer, we have also been supported and sheltered by friends who mean even more to us now. And my own family—the one with the five daughters from Wisconsin (there was a book about that I recall)—has also stepped up to show love and support.

So okay, the holidays may involve some ambivalence, yes. But ultimately my husband and I choose love and gratitude for those we know we can count on and the incredible life we have shared. And if we are developing some sympathy for those others, can forgiveness be far behind?

Is the saying that ‘ambivalent times teach you who your friends are?’ It certainly seems so. They may even point up who your true family is.

And that is a true and cherished blessing. Happy holidays everyone!

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