The missingness at Christmas

Photo by Valentin Petkov on Unsplash

It comes over you suddenly. As if you haven’t prepared for such things.

After all, it is the season.

For shadows and for glitter. For gifts. New ones that will come, and old ones that were received long ago. For remembering, missing and wishing.

Still, it’s surprising when you notice again how empty chairs are suddenly filled with light. All those dear souls have come.

You are delighted. Grateful. You laugh. And you are torn apart by an infinite sadness that sinks and sinks and takes your breath away.

Because you can look and feel, but can no longer touch.

So much love. And maybe in some cases, anger or regret that quickly fade into tenderness.

And then, just as you get used to it all, something else comes over you. The memory of things that could but didn’t or can’t or may not be.

The past can be tamed. Loss softened by compassion and acceptance.

But the present or future? Possibilities? Nothing can be done with them. Because they do not belong to you. They have no place in the world. Not yet at least.

Those chairs are empty.

And dodging this realization is no easy feat.

There’s no predicting the appearance of some random image, funny quote, or snippet of a violin while waiting in your car at the stoplight.

If only you could share with the only person you’ve ever known who would totally get it and appreciate that one thing. So they could laugh or argue or be annoyed with you in a way only they could do so…with only you.

Is it a blessing that some unique bonds are irreplaceable and no imitation will do? That some connections are not almosts or close enoughs? That they are….well, how to explain what exactly. How to explain the oneness of an everything?

That something that is difficult. Delightful. Necessary.

In the busy-ness of today, all I can think of is that everything is a gift. Even infinite sadness that roams about trying to get itself invited to a party. And, all gifts should be received and opened with wonder. With awe. With curiosity. Come what may.

So yes, a season of missingness. When every smile and every tear reminds you there is room in the world for much love, for magic and so many beautiful, mysterious, and yes, difficult things.

Merry Christmas wherever you are. Happy Holidays. Be well, be safe, be blessed.

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