Today would have been my Dad’s 91st Birthday. My Mom died nearly a year ago on December 15th. Needless to say, this has been an emotional month for me–beginning Thanksgiving week. Tom has spent lots of time comforting and holding me when the tears were unavoidable. What a gift his broad shoulders are to me.
Yesterday our son, Jason, posted a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that was exactly what I needed to hear.
This time of year is a great temptation for many to be sad, discouraged or lonely.
My prayer is that the following quote will help you realize what a blessing it is to experience such “emptiness”. This is a thought I had never considered before today.
“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve—even in pain—the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We have two dear friends who are facing their first Christmas without their husband. I can’t imagine such pain, but we do well to prepare our hearts for the day that will most likely come. Not to be morbid, mind you, but to help us appreciate today all the more. Each day is a gift, and no one realizes this more than the one who no longer has the one they love by their side.
May this thought fuel your affection this Christmas and help you choose what is of most importance. It’s not the clean house, the wrapped gifts, or the perfect decor. It’s having someone with whom to share every day, every holiday, even when life is hard.
How can you make this Christmas more meaningful? Remember when you say “yes” to something you are saying “no” to something else. Make sure you’re choosing the best in long run.