TIS the season to be jumpy... I mean jolly.
The countdown begins for Christmas, the second-biggest celebration of the year (the first being the NBA Finals, of course). This is when people get Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-levels of freaky. On one hand, people are extremely happy to reunite with their loved ones. On the other, they are so pressured to impress these loved ones that they are moving heaven and earth to make it the perfect celebration. Buffets are booked in advance, Christmas gifts are bought a month before to avoid the long lines, and party themes are conceptualized early on so that people only have to think of the Instagram hashtags when the pictures are taken. For most, it is indeed the season to be jolly.
But let’s take the time to consider others for whom this is not the case. There are some who have neither the time nor resources to prepare for what society considers a “merry” Christmas. What do we do for people who only feel cold—not literally, since we don’t have snow—during a season of warmth and happiness? We respect that their season in life now does not coincide with the (yearly) season’s tidings, and we give them as much space and care as they need.
Each of us go through different seasons in life. Some are in “the zone,” where everything they touch turns to gold and they are firing Nobel Prize-level ideas left and right. Some are in transition, when they are fighting to grab a foothold of security and stability amid constant change. Yet others are in loss, when the world is a little bit grayer and the burden of life seems to have quadrupled in weight overnight. This is why I feel it’s impossible to be “happy, happy, joy, joy” every waking moment; the very nature of life dictates that we will lose almost as much as we gain from it.
The important thing to remember here is sensitivity. If you are in a season of winning, don’t dismiss those on the other end as buzzkills and Negative Nancys/Nathans. Maybe people are going through something that makes it incapable for them to smile, so be the one to smile for them. The Good Book illustrates this when Job’s friends sat down, shut up and shed tears with him after he had lost everything. If you are in a season of loss, don’t hate on those who are winning. Maybe those people achieved a breakthrough after years of trial and error; don’t be the dark cloud in what may be their only glimpse of sunshine after a long time.
Let’s strive to be a “friend for all seasons” who knows how to respond appropriately to our loved ones: a word of encouragement, a slap on the back, a hug, or even just sitting in silence. The world needs more empathy, more shoulders to lean on.
What season of life are you in?