Long before the holidays come along, many divorced men and women experience a feeling of dread… ugh! The thought of putting on a smiling face for relatives, having to answer sensitive questions and enduring well-intentioned but painful comments like, “There’s someone better out there for you…” can make anyone want to just barricade themselves in their room and not emerge until the second week in January. These things, however, often take a backseat to the fact that the real pain comes from the constant reminder that the family is no longer whole. What can you do to get through the holidays gracefully?
First, try to remember that your family doesn’t like to see you suffer. They want to take away your pain and many times their statements are rooted in this desire to “fix” the problem. Second, begin planning now for the time you will have off from work or school by scheduling activities; volunteering is always a great way to take the focus off your sadness. Make sure you have as little time alone to feel sorry for yourself as possible. Lastly, try to remain focused on this season in our Church… if the emotions are overwhelming you, contemplate Mary and Joseph’s sudden midnight trip to Bethlehem, or the fact that a stable was all that was available to them to have their Baby. Unite your suffering with Jesus, Mary and Joseph and ask them to obtain the graces you need at this time. You may be pleasantly surprised at the good things you will receive through your sincere efforts.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11: 29).