Last year at Christmastime I was feeling really low because my children were spending Christmas with their dad, and it was the first year (our third year being divorced) that the four of us did not open presents together on Christmas morning. It seemed like the right direction to go in for us, but it was hard.
I felt sorry for myself.
Two days after Christmas, my dad collapsed. He never woke up.
As we have begun to adjust to life without him, I’ve thought about the holidays, of course, and how hard it will be to get through them this year, not only because it will be our first Thanksgiving and Christmas without dad, but also because the anniversary of his death will be looming. We will all be thinking about him and missing him, of course.
Again, I have felt sorry for myself. (Sometimes I really need the lessons crammed down my throat).
Then, the Elephant arrived. Though I still haven’t shared what that is, exactly, I will share that the Harvey family won’t be thinking entirely about missing our dad, because we will be managing the Elephant, too.
And the Elephant sucks, but…
I am not going to feel sorry for myself anymore.
Do you know why? Because it is a waste of precious time and energy.
It hurts me to think that maybe I didn’t enjoy (what ended up being) my last Christmas with my dad as much as I should have, because I was so focused on what was wrong. I was so focused on what I was missing that I didn’t fully appreciate what I had.
Life is hard sometimes…but we have to make the best of it. Whatever it is that you are dealing with right now – the thing that seems really big and horrible – maybe it actually isn’t that bad.
Maybe it IS that bad. It might be.
Either way, is it possible you will look back and realize that you wasted some perfectly good parts of your life because you were feeling sorry for yourself? That you missed some really good and important stuff because you were focused on the wrong thing?
It can be really hard sometimes to find, and focus on, the silver linings. It can take practice to sharpen our focus on the beautiful parts of our lives and to pull our attention away from the painful ones.
To retrain our lens.
I am going to do it though. I don’t want to look back on the holiday season – on ANY part of my life – and think…if only I’d known then what I know now.
If only I’d focused on the love and the gratitude, instead of on the loss and the worry.