For my first post of the New Year, I planned to write about hope. After all, there is something exciting about seeing a new year begin. But today, January 1, I headed home after the holidays, leaving family behind and returning alone. I must confess that hope was the last thing on my mind. As they say, “I just wasn’t feelin’ it.”
I had looked forward to Christmas, and having my family all together. Christmas came and went, and the joy of it exceeded my expectations. But the task that waited for me at home was perhaps the one I hate more than any other. Taking down the decorations. It always makes me sad, and I suppose that doing it alone just adds to my melancholy mood.
During the 100 mile drive, my thoughts turned to the year ahead. I know already that 2014 will inevitably be a year of losses. I often advise people not to worry about tomorrow, or “borrow trouble” before it happens. I didn’t follow my own advice very well. I wasn’t imagining something that might never happen, though. I was thinking about certain losses that I know will come – and dreading them.
I also know that packing up the Christmas ornaments and tucking the little nativity characters back into the pockets of the Advent calendar will probably reduce me to tears. So I decided I’d just give in to the feelings and have a pity party when I got home.
Unfortunately my mind is always working, especially when it comes to words and phrases. Even as I thought about having a pity party, I reflected that the term was an oxymoron. A party has the connotation of a happy event, so it doesn’t fit with pity at all. And besides, have you ever heard of throwing a pity party for two or three people, or a crowd? No, pity is usually something you indulge in all by yourself.
For heaven’s sake. Couldn’t I even plan a pity party without analyzing it? I shoved those annoying thoughts aside.
Over the holidays I bought myself a cd with a collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs, and I listened to it in the car for the first time. I had never heard one of the songs, Love Changes Everything. Although the song is apparently about a romantic relationship, the words spoke to me. The song ends with the line, “love will never, never let you be the same.”
I thought about that line with regard to the losses ahead of me this year, and to the losses we all face. Our children grow up and leave home. Friends move away. Relationships change. Parents die. Every loss brings with it a measure of grief.
I intended to write about hope for the New Year. But I think this is, instead, a post about love. Love does change everything. Once you feel love, you open yourself up to the possibility of loss. As the song says, “Pain is deeper than before.”
Once you feel love, you will never, never be the same. And isn’t that a good thing?
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