Archive for December, 2012

hbx-holiday-1210-perfect-de-83980034I’m not really a holiday person. I don’t know if I ever have been. For me the holidays exhibit frustration, disappointment, and awkwardness of forced relationships. I’ve heard of stories and know people who love the holidays, embrace the joy of the season, see the beauty of peace on earth, and make cookies to help spread some of that overflowing festivity inside of them. I’m thankful for people like that, they help me come outside myself and make the holidays better for everyone. I just happen to not be one of those people.

To me the holidays are a season of stirring up emotions that I try to keep dormant. As a result, all I do during the holidays feels like a forced effort, similar to a child waking up for school, or choosing to go to for a run when it’s 36 degrees outside. Maybe if I did run more often these days I would feel better…  its just so stinking cold out!

In addition to not appreciating the holidays for all that they’re worth, my natural tendency for dealing with stress, pressure, and all that makes me feel uncomfortable is to run and hide. I don’t think it’s that uncommon to want to push away from something that hurts or is unfamiliar. I look at it like getting a shot; most children scream and try to run away from the needle. I don’t have a problem with needles, I tend to run from people, places, events, tasks, pretty much anything that causes me pain. Knowing full well that running away from everything that scares me, hurts me, or makes me feel inferior is extremely immature, cowardly, and will get me nowhere in in life, I push forward trying to do the best thing in each situation… that is until the holidays come around.

I can’t explain it; something happens inside of me, my insecurities overwhelm me. Tapes play in my head louder at this time of year than any other… “Everyone is better at this than you… people are tired of your weaknesses… why can’t you just get your act together and make some cookies… why is it four days from Christmas and you haven’t even put ornaments on the tree, you’re as pathetic as your tree… you really need to see someone about your issues, maybe a few days stay at an institution would help…” And the list goes on and on and on, intertwining truth and judgment. I don’t have ornaments on my tree, I haven’t made a single cookie, I haven’t even been able to bring myself to buy presents for those I love because the tapes in my head scream at me each time I think of what I’d want to get.

It’s during this time of year that I think back to when I was a child. Many nights when storms would rage, and the thunder and lightning would penetrate the house, my sister would come running into my room to save me. Along with her would be a blanket and her most comforting stuffed animal. I’d grab my “Ted-E-Bear” and run after her excited to find some solace in the storm. We’d clammer down the stairs into the center of the family room (away from all windows) and sit with blanket overhead, waiting out the storm. It was in those moments with the warmth of our breath comforting our souls that we would laugh and rest, knowing we were safe.

It is during this time of year that I long for that, long for the warmth and comfort of peace that comes with knowing there is one who takes you under their blanket, because they too understand the fear. To feel the comforting breath of one who loves unconditionally, without judgment or criticism, the breath of one who will just let you be and will be with you as you wait out the storm.

6121045132_dbcca8315d_zEven though 25 years have passed since those days of hiding from the storm with my sister, and 1,500 miles now separates us, I know that I can still find that comfort. I can sit by my fireplace, dog at my feet, kitty in my lap, coffee in hand, and simply rest. Feeling the warmth of breath refreshing my soul, I can breathe out the frustrations of the season, let go of all the unmet expectations, release the tension I’ve placed on myself, and simply be. Be with the one who doesn’t care about the commercialism, doesn’t care if I make cookies, or buy presents, doesn’t care if the ornaments on my tree are up, He just cares about me at this moment and at this time. So for now I will simply breath in, feel the warmth and be.


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