Humbug Heartbroke Holiday

This morning I hopped onto Facebook like I usually do only to see a post from a dear friend from my childhood asking for prayers for another friend and her family. Apparently her friend lost her 3 year old child suddenly. I didn’t know this woman or her family, but my heart broke just a little bit. An event like that has the ability to color the holiday forever.

Hers is not the only situation like that, I’m sure. In fact, my cousin’s wife reached out recently, too, with a request for prayers. Her brother was in ICU and had been put into a medically induced coma so that medical staff could do tests to figure out what was wrong with him. Thankfully, he’s out of the coma and is responding…and the hospital was able to pinpoint an area to focus their tests.

As beautiful as the sentiments are behind Christmas, the truth is that there are things that can happen to make the holiday feel that much more lonely and painful. Relationships end. People die. Health can fail. Maybe that’s why, despite the sad tone, Blue Christmas has always been a favorite song of mine.

Personally, I love a good sad song…. Lyrics have a way of touching the heart and sometimes releasing healing memories and tears. This Taylor Swift song speaks to me in that way….

With all that hurt and heartache, it’s easy to get lost in feelings of hopelessness. We need help and kindness…from family, from friends…sometimes from total strangers. There’s salvation in kindness…and we never know when we’ll need to be on the receiving end of that helping hand. We never know when reaching out to another person with a helpin hand could be a helping hand reaching back for you. Nothing illustrates it for me better than this Emerson Drive song. Heck, you never know when you might be the Guardian Angel sent to save someone else.

Haunted

Woman-Crying

You look right through me,
the ghost,
turning away.
I have become
invisible to you.
I reach out,
Praying you’ll notice
how I ache
for a gentle word,
a soft caress
that says
“You’re beautiful to me.”

I beg you to hear me,
just once,
look my way!
Wishing you’d see the heart
I laid bare for you.
The walls
you built to make our house
left me
on the outside,
The stranger at the door
waiting for my invitation
or a simple
“Welcome home.”

We used to be great together,
equal partners; a team.
Now I’m just
the babysitter
who bore your children,
and warms your bed.
You don’t reach out
across our chasm
in dark of night.
You turn away,
my lonely heart aching
for
“I love you.”

How much longer
can I battle
for our life without your help?
The woman I am
slipping further away.
You haven’t even noticed
how your cold shoulder
erodes my confidence:
saps my strength.
I’ve given you
all I have.
The only thing left
is
“Goodbye.”

I am in a very happy, healthy relationship. I’m lucky. My husband loves me and doesn’t, not even for one second, take me for granted. He treats me with love and respect. We are a team…true partners. Sometimes, talking to some friends, I almost feel guilty talking about him because I know how very different their relationships are.

One friend in particular comes to mind. Her marriage is in trouble. She has been fighting her butt off to try to save it. She’s a great parent. She’s given up so much for him…to try to make a home for him, to help him build the career he wants, to support him. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a two way street. Every time she thinks she’s making a breakthrough, he pulls the rug out from under her…breaking her heart all over again.

Truth is, if she didn’t love him, she’d have walked away a long time ago… Instead, she’s like Don Quixote…battling windmills. I watch as this vibrant, strong woman becomes reduced to tears of frustration…trying to find another way to stay in a love she’s beginning to feel is one sided. I watch her digging deep, trying to hold on to the powerful, intelligent, wonderful person that the rest of us see…but feeling like she’s shattering inside, her essence corroding away.

It sucks to be the bystander, unable to do anything to help but listen and support. Today I asked her…”How much are you expected to take?” Her answer was, “I don’t know.” Sadly, he’s of the school that believes if you ignore it, the problem isn’t there. It definitely doesn’t help.

So what happens when you get pushed back against a wall and you run out of options? When you run out of reasons to fight? More importantly, when you see your friend devastated and your heart is breaking for them…what do you do? I did the only thing I think I can… listened and offered support. I wish I could do more.