I was trying to clean up my blog instead of actually cleaning my house (It's defensible act: far more people see my blog than my house) and I came across a post that I wrote in January. It took me back a step or two, specifically these paragraphs:
Turns out that feeling lonely when you're laying on the couch watching "Love Actually" one more time is an entirely different kind of lonely than the type that you feel when you are surrounded by those that you love. Because that kind of lonely isn't nice like his sister. His sister just sort of settles in and makes herself at home, occasionally sending up a pang or two, but mostly is a good renter. Her brother, more of the violent sort that your parents might ask you to avoid because they are a tad put off by the tattoo on his neck. Doesn't play well with others. Punches below the belt. I tried explaining this to my Dad on Christmas Day when I was simultaneously packing and sobbing.
On New Years Day, I was driving and singing along to "Long December", specifically, "and there's reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last"....
What I want you to know is that if I could package anything up to all of you on this seventh day of Christmas, it would be Hope.
The blogging world is amazing, and what stuns me on a daily basis is how moved I am by what I read, and how connected I feel to those that put the words out there. Not one day has gone by when I haven't thought of many of you and said a little prayer, or dreamed a little dream for you.
I know this time of the year is hard. I know we've all suffered losses and hurts and pains that we think no one else can possibly imagine or know. I understand how isolating and heavy that kind of aching is. I don't deny it's real.
I understand the gasping when you catch a glimpse of yourself and wonder who that is. I have felt your frustration when you're trying to figure out how on earth you're going to make it all work. My cheeks have burned with the same shame over what your body looks like when you glance at someone that has the same number of kids and yet pulls off a bikini while you're wearing your sweats. I've felt the pangs of insecurity when you stand quietly to the side, because you're certain you have nothing of value to give to anyone.
But today, I'd like to give you Hope. Even just a little. Even if it comes in the form of a tear, or a small turning upward of a corner of your mouth, or a "whatever", followed by a small thought of, "well, maybe".
Holding on when you feel there is nothing to grasp is hard, but I'm offering to you that if you just let Hope in, even just a little, it will blossom. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, or next month, or even (sorry) next year, but just try to keep it inside of you, in a small part, where it can get some sun and fresh air and occasional rain. Then I'd ask that once it blossoms, you take part of that plant and pass it along to someone else that needs it. You'll know them when you see them.
On this seventh day: Hope. You don't have to wait for Christmas, you can open it today.