While most professions do what they can to wind down as we near closer to Christmas and New Year’s Day, I’ve found myself ratcheting up with client crises here in the counseling world. See, I have the blessing and curse of experiencing daily what often happens behind the scenes from family to family.
And, I’ve heard the same from several of my fellow counselors and therapists too. Sadly, this season can be more pain than jingle bells.
Being the bearer of bad news is never fun – and, it’s definitely a no-no during the cheerful, joyful holiday season – but I must bring light to the possibility that so many families out there are hurting bad this time of the year. Even worse, society’s unwritten and unspoken rules shame these same families into silence, with the feeling of suffering alone.
Take note that for every soldier that returns home for the holiday break, there are thousands more that will still be stationed away and/or will never return home for Christmas celebration because they paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Please remember that for every family that has its members travel hundreds of miles to unite fully around the Christmas tree every year, there are even more families that are “celebrating” Christmas without a beloved grandparent, parent or even a child for the first time. Or, maybe it’s the second. Third. Fifth time. Or, the twentieth time. Years passed doesn’t mean that the pain of a broken family or the longing for the dearly departed has subsided enough for one to truly enjoy the season.
I beg you to consider that the tingles you feel from your favorite Christmas song might be the same sound that brings indescribable pain to another.
Keep in mind that while some can’t keep from smiling from sun up to sun down every December 25, others’ jaws are just plain ol’ tired from forcing a smile all day every Christmas.
I urge you to remember all these possibilities and give the gift of compassion to those suffering families during Christmas. But, keep in mind, these families may be hard to spot, as they too will be appearing happy, grinning from ear to ear seemingly without a care.