Today in most of the world, people celebrate every special event by dining together. Holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, all culminate in a meal. The Mass in the Catholic Church and some Protestant Churches is a Eucharistic Meal, a commemoration and celebration of the “The Last Supper. ”
Don’t remind me!
For some singles, celebrations such as Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a source of loneliness and pain. These days bring memories of what used to be. As a way of survival, they may try to make it just another day to get through. Some may even ignore the day and pretend to wonder what all the hype is about. They may claim, “Why are others killing themselves to produce an enormous meal for a bunch of people who will probably over stuff their bellies with rich carbohydrates and later nod off in the middle of a conversation?”
Becoming single by divorce or due to the death of a spouse, can generate change in attitude, change in financial, emotional, social and personal conditions. Some changes are not always easy and certainly it’s not a time to feel thankful. So, why should a day like Thanksgiving or Christmas evoke feelings of thankfulness for them?
You may ask, “What do I have to be thankful for? My lover is gone. I’m alone and lonely. Nothing is the same. My ‘friends’ don’t seem to really care, besides I’m just a 3rd thumb now. They are all married, dating or they have their own life to live. Regardless, of how caring they sound, I don’t fit into the social puzzle anymore. ”
Thoughts like, “Where do I fit in? Being single and free is not what I thought it would be. Instead of less responsibility, there is more. Instead of freedom, it feels like a wall of bricks, has fallen on me. How do I start moving this burden off of me? Can I?”
“The loneliness is sometimes unbearable, even in a crowd. It feels like a part of me has been chopped off. I’m no longer whole. I feel so helpless and useless”…Sound Familiar?
Most people reading this will be able to relate, but what some don’t recognize is that, this time in life can be a jubilant time, a time for renewal, for new beginnings and change. Hope is on the horizon.
“Bah, Humbug!” you say.
If you haven’t already slammed this article down in disgust, here is a ray of hope to offer…Gratitude. (You’re probably incredulous now. )
Gratitude is a two-way gift. It thanks the giver and blesses the receiver.
Gratitude is paying attention and being joyful for “the little things. ” Even when you are alone or…because you are alone, gratitude has its rewards. Looking for the upside of your pain may surprise you, when you discover you can get past it. You are in control! Only you can make changes in your life and you are not helpless. Gratitude is the gift of Thanksgiving that you give yourself! At home alone, one could look at the day from a different vantage point. It could be a day of reflection, a day to give thanks for solitude, a day to reach out past the length of one’s own arms, or a day of gratitude for a new opportunity to start over.
Start With Your Home So what if the carpet is old and the walls could stand a coat of paint. Your home is a shelter from the elements of the blistering hot or shivering cold outside. Imagine it putting protective, welcoming arms around you as you close the door behind you. This is your inner sanctum. Say, “Thank you God, for my home. ”
Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests in her book, “Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude”…”Walk through the different rooms where you eat, sleep and live. Bless the walls, roof, the windows and the foundation. Give thanks for your HOME exactly as it exists today: sift, sort, simplify and bring order to the home you have. Recognize that the home of your dreams dwells within. ”
Further she says, “Let your thanksgiving for all that is, rise above the din of disappointment-opportunities lost, mistakes made, the clamor of it all that has not yet come. ”
“Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend…When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives, but are grateful for the abundance that is present—(God’s) love, health, family, friends, work, the joy of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth. ”
Be Thankful! Create New Memories We sometimes expect the easy thing to do is to withdraw, when the future seems bleak and uncomfortable. Fear of being alone for the holidays can be too much to bear. So, we fall into denial of our true feelings. Memories of past happy, holidays appear to be impossible to replicate. Perhaps, a better suggestion would be to try to create new memories, our very own style of celebration.
Look for ideas of how to change your experience in my follow-up article:
Alone or Widowed, The Destination Is Not Important, But The Trip Is!
For more tips and tools to on how to survive divorce and loss and make healthy relationship choices you are invited to visit Butterflyintonewlife.com or Divorced? Alone? Help is Here! Patricia Hubbard has Facilitated a Support Group for Separated, Divorced and Widowed people for the past 11 years. She has been the writer/ producer of “SINGLES PERSPECTIVES" a newsletter for Single Friends in Christ, a social group for Singles in Virginia Beach. Besides her writing, coaching separated, divorced and widowed persons occupies most of her time.