All is not lost: Finding hope at Christmas

All is not lost: Finding hope this Christmas

There are lights strung across the rooftops, trees decked with ornaments, and carols being sung. It is the Christmas season. We are told to be happy, grateful and merry. But, sometimes those feelings don’t come easily.

Last Christmas, I didn’t want to celebrate. What was once a time of light and laughter was a reminder of loss, heartache and confusion.  It had been a hard year, and a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder had turned my world upside down. Day had turned to night, and depression was a desert. The arrival of,  “the most wonderful time of the year” felt like a bully standing in front of me, taunting at my grief.

I share my story, because I know it is not just mine. Maybe the scenario is a little different, but ultimately, many feel this way over the holidays. And from one survivor to another, I see you. If this holiday season is hard for you, it is ok you feel the way you do.

But there is hope for you friend, as you travel across this barren desert. The dark sky has a single star in it, and it’s just bright enough to light your way. I know you will keep walking, even though you don’t know where you’ll end up.

We weren’t made to live in these deserts, barely surviving. We were made for more than this. There is always a star up above, slowly showing us the way forward.

Take my hand and we will follow it together—you were never meant to be alone here.

I see your tears, let them flow.

I hear your anger; you don’t need to bottle it up anymore.

I’ve yelled at that guiding star of hope too, all desert dwellers have.  Yet hope has an odd way of guiding us through living hell.

I know the ache deep in your soul that only occurs when you’ve risked and lost; and sometimes hope seems dangerous to follow again. But trust me, this star will lead us home wherever that may be.

Maybe that is what we can hope for this Christmas. Home.

You will feel at home in yourself again.

It won’t always be this scary.

What happened is not your fault.

You are not this desert, you are not this pain.

You are the brave wanderer, using the stars as your compass, opening your arms to hope, closer to home than you think.

And maybe following that star means telling a friend you need some support, going to your doctor, joining a community, or booking an appointment with a counsellor. It’s risky, but it will guide you home.

There’s a few lights up ahead, some buildings, a stable. Maybe home could be here. Can you hear that baby’s cry? There’s a community up ahead, people willing to give us space to heal, time to feel again. If this time of year is hard for you, please come and rest awhile.

There is life here, and where there is life, there is hope.