‘Tis the season for eggnog and grief. Christmastime is here and it can be a grueling and gut-wrenching reminder of the relationship that has ended for someone who has lost a loved one through death or divorce or discord.
Christmas can be especially difficult when someone is missing. Brad W. Smith, photographer
We can’t bring back the dead, restore a marriage or repair a relationship, but we can be a good friend to a friend who is struggling in this joyous holiday.
As a friend, it helps to first of all remember there is no time limit on mourning.
I’ve been asked, “Can’t you take a joke?” more than a few times, and I bet you have too. Ever notice how it is always after someone has said something that is offensive and disrespectful?
Does the question leave you speechless the way it does me?
Do we take the time to sit down and listen to ourselves and understand how our words are heard by others? Or do we believe our words to be empty and meaningless and therefore, unimportant?
It’s a lame attempt to cover up for a rude statement by shifting responsibility from the speaker to the listener. The original statement and the ‘joke’ question that follows are disrespectful behavior. They take away from our intimacy and enjoyment of each other.
I have an answer to that question. My answer puts responsibility back where it belongs. Even better, it allows me to maintain my self-respect and show respect for others.
Here’s a hint: it’s not a smart-mouthed comeback.
Are you getting ready to be together with friends and family later today?
Does your menu look like this: the traditional fare, plus gluten-free versions, plus dairy-free alternatives, plus vegan options?
Today we give thanks for the courage to be who we really are and for all those who give us loving acceptance.
What about the family dynamics? Will there be hushed conversations or knowing looks that say: Don’t let this one have too much to drink. She isn’t speaking to her. Wonder if he’s still out of work after all this time?
Juggling all the dietary and emotional needs of our families makes it hard to feel thankful and loving, doesn’t it?