I don’t share this story often, but it was 13 years ago that I could not celebrate Christmas. My depression had hit a new low in the spring of that year. I was an island of pain. We stopped attending church, I stopped talking to friends and family, I stopped doing anything I enjoyed. I was completely alone with my pain. I kept it that way all through spring, summer and fall of that year.
As Christmas approached the depression was like a corset around my chest. Any time I considered the gatherings with happy friends and family it felt like the laces got tighter around my chest. So I didn’t go- to any of them. I skipped every single gathering. My reason was that at those gathering people might have been happy, happy to see me, expected me to be happy, even hugged me.
Some of you may be facing the same tightness in your chest as you consider these upcoming gatherings. The worst part of grief is the way we isolate ourselves on our island of grief. Reach out to one person, tell your story, start giving pieces of the pain away.
That year my husband brought me to the Christmas Eve service. It was hard for me to even enter the building. My pain was so huge I thought it wouldn’t fit in the building. And I cried through the whole service. God loved me that night. Yes I know that he loves me every moment, but especially that night as I was hurting so deeply.
It took time for me to heal. A few months later I started therapy and I continued that for a few years. That was a good step. But the best step was that in time I began to let people back in. I began to share my pain and grief. As I did that it got smaller and smaller.
I now imagine grief as a pie, maybe pumpkin pie. The whole pie is heavy, especially if you are trying to carry it around all the time. If you are trying to do your tasks without putting down your pie they become difficult. But there are people who will share the pie with you. Let them help.
Remember that the reason this is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is because it represents Jesus birth. He was born because he loves you enough to die for you. Share your pain with him in constant prayer. He wants to be your closest friend. That truly is wonderful!
Much love to you!