BY REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“Meandering the Holidays — a brief guide for self-care in this ‘whirled‘ of ours!”
“The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:17-18
You may want to download this article or cut it from the newspaper to post on the refrigerator. Broken hearts and crushed spirits abound.
For decades pastors, priests, rabbis, and therapists have called this time of year from the Thanksgiving holiday through Christmas and into the new year… Death Valley. It’s a condition not a place. It’s real and this year there are additional cracks on the way. Caution noted… do your best not to fall in.
In fact, what many will experience will feel less of a swirl effect and more like being bounced back and forth like the agitation of the washing machine. Then… then… think ‘spin’ cycle!
And it’s never fun. Really. Yet, all of us get to experience the residual grief that arises in our hearts and minds at this time of year. Over the years I have shared this caution around the weekend of Thanksgiving on the way to Christmas but this year… because it is… THIS year… I’m giving myself and others a 2-week head start. If faith matters… then it’s a matter of faith how one maneuvers these days.
This time of the year is whet with feelings. We cannot rid ourselves of them and they are just that… feelings… not right or wrong but great reminders that we are alive and amid that aliveness there is both joy and pain. Old wounds are opened, and people see the hurt on our faces even though we’ve not spoken a word. This time of the year can be treacherous… so take caution and use your faith ‘toolbox’ to tend to your heart and mind in healthy, faithful, spiritual ways.
Who would have ever thought? Yet here we are! Life as we know it has been placed ‘on hold.’ Many family gatherings will not be held in person this year. Still people find themselves talking to loved ones through the window outside their home or care facility. There are a lot of funerals yet to be held. We all have a need to love and be loved and the dynamics of this year’s holiday season will be talked of for decades to come. We are all having to adjust… all of us… as in the whole world…
Are you worried about it? The Lord is close. Are you on your knees? You might be. Just remember, the world has dealt with pandemics before. Death Valley rolls around every year. Yet, God is faithful. God’s Word and purposes are trustworthy. Always… Forever… and please note… God didn’t cause this! God’s not mad! God doesn’t need ‘another angel in heaven!’ God didn’t allow this so ‘we could learn our lesson.’ But lessons can be heeded. It’s your life! So, consider this as 2020 takes a turn into 2021…
- Be realistic. Try not to expect the “ideal/perfect/best-ever” holiday…
- Keep your regular routine… or get one!
- Think moderation… of food, drink, etc.
- Stay connected in intentional ways to family and friends. The extra effort will be worth it.
- Let go of your guilt… think and do goodness as you focus on today…
- Do not be alone if you don’t want to be. Ask. Call. Write. Help your neighbor.
- Be good to yourself. Look for God’s presence. God is familiar with our grief.
Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches in Texas and Louisiana over the last four decades. Follow his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Please send your comments and / or questions to [email protected].