As the holidays approach, most people are busy right now, and we’ll get busier. I worked hard on some editing (of a book) this week, adding and correcting research. I’m always very meticulous about the research in my books, and it’s a challenge to weave research, real history, and technical facts, into the story. It gives a book substance, and adds reality to fiction. In addition to that, I was getting ready for my children to come home for Thanksgiving. And a board meeting this week of the foundation established in my son Nick’s name to deal with mental health issues and suicide prevention. So I’ve been busy. And probably you too!!!
As the holidays roll around, they always make me think. On the surface, the feeling is one of excitement, happy times to share both on Thanksgiving and Christmas, traditions we love, and the people we love gathered around us, good times to share. Hopefully happy days that will make fond memories. But there’s a lot more to the holidays than that, and a darker side to them that I never forget. For every happy gathering and bright group of friends and families, there are people for whom the holidays are a challenge and not a happy occasion. People alone, or out of a job, or who have just lost a loved one, or have no families, families that struggle, and thousands of homeless people in all of our cities. For some, the holidays are an agony others can’t even imagine. I think of those people. And my heart goes out to them. I have had some hard holidays too, most of us have. And even the happiest families have their challenging times. The Thanksgiving two months after my son died was brutal, and Christmas that same year. I struggled to make it as best I could for my other children, but it was hard for us all, and the year their father died. Those things happen to us all, or the bad timing when something bad happens, like losing a job right before the holidays. None of us are exempt from the rough spots in life.
I remember a Thanksgiving when I was alone in a new city a long time ago, before I had my family. And I came across a quote from the Bible which touched me, “God places the solitary in families”. It was true for me, some kind people I hardly knew invited me to join them for Thanksgiving, and I was deeply grateful. I always remember that every year. If we have a joyful gathering and a full table, it’s nice to remember those who are alone and try to include them, or even to work with people in dire need on our streets and reach out to them. For every happy gathering, there is a lonely person somewhere, alone and perhaps in despair, whom we can make a real difference to.
I wish you all a joyful abundant truly happy Thanksgiving, with the people you love, and the friends you enjoy, and for those who are alone or struggling, they are not forgotten. I hope that each of us can make a difference to someone in need this Thanksgiving, with some large or small gesture that will warm them and give them hope.
With all my love and warmest thoughts, may it be a blessed holiday for all of you, and everyone you reach out to. Have a wonderful holiday and a terrific week.