It’s a Wonderful Life? (When Christmas Feels Hopeless)
Last year I spent Christmas Evening alone on my couch watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I was nearly a year into my battle with chronic illness and felt more depleted than ever. I had spent only a few hours with my husband’s family that week, but any interaction for more than a few minutes was more than my feeble body could handle.
Although I would not choose to spend a Christmas evening alone again, there was something sacred about the personal viewing of the movie. Watching a man who felt his life didn’t quite turn out the way he planned, feeling lost and desperate, ready to end his own life. I could relate. I had lost my job, my body was not improving, and relationships were strained all around. Was I George Bailey?
It can be difficult when there is so much hype and sparkle around the holidays and one’s gloomy circumstances don’t match the celestial cheer that is constantly bombarded through TV and Social Media marketing. I remember seeing holiday twinkle all over #Christmasgram and thinking my only desire was to be able to walk and function again. I didn’t know if my condition was ever going to improve, and I was losing hope.
Holiday marketing didn’t help, especially since, Winter solstice which usually occurs a few days prior to Christmas is naturally a dark time of reflection which ushers in a season of rebirth. It feels almost counterintuitive that American marketing has made the holidays one of the most stressed and hurried times of the year. Our bodies are ready for rest and rejuvenation, it’s reflected in nature all around us.
During this time, it's ok to not celebrate. It’s ok to hibernate and accept the dark night that has entered one’s world. Dark nights are required to usher in something more real and beautiful. Ego attachments are being shed during these times.
I know that it feels dark and crummy when others look like they are having so much fun. Maybe they are. Maybe not? The older I get, the more I realize I’ve met very few people who tend to be honest about life. Life is both joyful and painful, so an honest assessment of Facebook land might help.
The wonderful thing that brings hope to these situations though, is that the dark night is there to lessen the pain and lead us into more joy. It’s there to strip something away that gives an illusion of pain for what is now missing. Maybe the relationship? The job? The image? The reputation?
On the other side, the joy increases because we are now closer to our truest selves. It really is a merciful act from the heavens. The universe is always there to bring more joy into our lives, even if the stripping away feels painful.
For months, I felt hopeless and frustrated, agonizing over why I was not progressing quicker. I prayed, desperately like George Bailey, not seeing a path forward. Somewhere, I believe angels came to deliver help. Never in the way I thought one would show up though, but mercy was granted. I see it woven across the tapestry of my history. (If I could just get out of my own way, and receive the help that was sent!)
In the middle of the heartache and frustration, I was given books, information, healers and teachers along the way. Enough to get me to the point, where I was ready to surrender and do the healing work with myself and God.
I promise you though, if you are in a dark season right now, you are surrounded by angels. The heavens have heard your cry and help is already on the way. Maybe the first sign is to let you know you aren’t alone, and this dark night will eventually turn to a dawn of peace and new life.