By Kenneth Stepp
Happy holidays! Not always… For many of us, the holidays are simply a reminder that in life, we lost. We lost our spouse, kids, and hope of the future. That sounds very negative. Well, for many, it’s fair. Many of us are reminded, not of what the holidays mean, but of the great losses we have stacked up. They say that suicide rates soar during the holidays. I get that.
Over the past few years, I have made such wonderful friends. They mean so much to me. Spending time with them is one of the highlights of my life. We laugh, explore, talk about things we’ve been up to, and we reminisce about our lives before… Before being single. You remember those days don’t you? When you were certain of how life would always be?
Certainties. I call them, knowns. A huge part of my life was full of them. I knew I would always be a big part of my kid’s lives, I knew my wife and I would grow old together, I knew we’d retire financially stable, I knew holidays would bring a house full of kids and grand kids, I knew things, wonderful things. Then I became single again. A DJ should be dragging the needle across the vinyl record about now.
Christmas morning will be the roughest. My kids always opened presents that morning. My wife always made special sweet rolls, the house smelled of pine and those sweet rolls. The kids woke up and flew down the stairs. It was magical. Looking back, I did not have a clue how powerful those memories would become. They were my world, the reason I cared about anything. I just wasn’t completely aware of it back then. I was still climbing business ladders, still finding purpose in the things a dad and business owner thought mattered. Now, they’re just memories. Reminders of loss.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Years Day, mean something so different than they use to. Back then, they were days to remember what we were thankful for, days of joy, surprises, and closeness, days of hope for the future, days we were building something together. Days that were made of miracles and wonderment. Today they are simply reminders of what was. Days I dread each year. Days I once enjoyed, I now endure.
A little less than 2 years ago, I moved, I acquired a new roommate. I had no idea how important she would become to me. She can be bossy, cantankerous, and a little straightforward with me. But she is always honest and I know she cares deeply for me, as I do her. Because of her, I learned to cook. Her hours are very long, I work from home, I make her dinner every night, I do the shopping and the errand running. She is my best friend and has become my purpose in life. Christmas day is her birthday and for reasons I won’t go into here, we celebrate her on that day. She’s now the reason for my season.
We all have great capacity for love. We all have a past that looks much happier than today. Why? Because most of us were happy children at one point in life, that was a foundation to build a life full of hope and dreams, a life with loved ones and purpose. When we lose that and reality hits, it’s going to be brutal. Knowing it’s coming each year doesn’t help. For me, I found someone who needs me and I needed that. We share life and dating stories with one another. Fun and happiness still exists, but in other ways. Find them…
Purpose. It’s a human need, Without it, we are lost. If you find yourself lost, hurting, or just down on the holidays. Find someone in need and fill that need. I tell my roommate all the time that she rescued me. Her response is always the same. We rescued each other. So for Christmas this year, rescue someone…
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” John 15:13