Holidays are here!!! Can it be??
This year seems so surreal. It is a shock to me…the holidays are upon us! Literally, nine and a half to ten months of this year are gone under the shadow of the pandemic. I have felt the haze in the fog of this year just like everybody else while working from home so much of the time. For close to 20 years, I’ve driven over 3,000 miles a month around the city and now (present-day) it seems exhausting to have one online appointment a day! In my home office where I do most of my virtual meetings, I have a handful of dress shirts I put on for different meetings, so I don’t have to go upstairs and get fully dressed! I know I’m not the only one! My yellow button-down got a lot of air time this year!
Our family, like most, had a different kind of Thanksgiving gathering this year. But the day after, Stacey and the kids were doing what they always do- converting our house into our holiday home. It’s her tradition and it’s become my tradition in the years we’ve been together. She loves decorating and having just the right pieces to transform our home for the season. I even put some lights up on the house without being asked! I think we’re both craving and leaning into our traditions, maybe more this year than in recent years. It feels safe, familiar, and (above all) comforting. We’re planning our outdoor, socially distanced holiday gatherings with our entire family. We need to spend this time with the people we love the most. We want so badly to get back to “normal.”
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the idea of fatigue, chaos, and the fight for hope. Although I wasn’t here for the years of the second world war and I was just a toddler for a good part of the 60s, I was thinking a lot about how to maintain their hope while the world is in total chaos. I’m sure people of those generations felt the same level of fatigue and exhaustion that so many of us feel today. With all of the chaos, fear is just rampant, and we feel exhausted from the uncertainty and ambiguity of life.
I’m reading a new book specifically on the origin and the impact of chaos in our world. The author makes the point in his definition that chaos keeps us from living the life we dream or hope for. Chaos is an external factor meant to derail my life- all lives. Chaos exists and has always existed in the world. The really interesting and ultimately devastating part of it is that so much of the chaos feels so personal. We have suffered a great loss this year. I have suffered a great loss this year. The setbacks are real and very personal. There’s no need to list them, but I’m choked up thinking about it as I’m sure so many of you are as well. It seems very personal and targeted.
So much of how I live has to do with what I allow in through my gates. My eyes and ears allow an awful lot of the world in and therefore the impact on my heart and soul can be devastating. Fatigue, hopelessness, and Ambivalence grow like weeds in me. As I shared, I have had to fight back an awful lot of as well.
As I try and write this, it feels like a challenge to find the right words. I don’t want to minimize or trivialize anybody’s pain or loss during this time. I’m grieving, and I know so many of you are grieving as well. But I would say this. There’s a bit of stubbornness in my soul that cries out and clings to Hope. My friend Amy commented yesterday after a meeting I was in and called me “salty”! I guess I can be salty, crusty, and a lot more sometimes. But usually, it’s when I’m fighting for the things I feel most strongly about. It’s in those moments when I respond forcefully, I know I still have the firepower within me to fight for the other things in life I love the most. Like my family. So while I’m frustrated and aggravated, I know it’s OK. Ambivalence would be the lack of response. Hope is all around and when I allow myself to be hopeful, then I can with gratitude, allow myself to trust again in the future. It’s risky to trust and hope. But I know the alternative leads to more fatigue and ambivalence. And so on faith, I hope again.
For me as a Christian, the season is a celebration of the coming of the promised Savior of the world. As a person in this world, I seem to always have a heart, the one always longing and hoping to be satisfied. No matter what I do for myself, I am never satisfied fully. That sense of longing always comes back. The church celebrates the Advent season as the time of preparation prior to the celebration of Christmas. I really tried to be intentional these weeks and allow myself to feel what I feel about life right now. But after a time of reflection, I feel hope. The fatigue and weariness are here. But I feel hope. I feel inspired. I am so grateful. My heart had not grown cold and there is love to share. Though not satisfied- it feels satisfying and hopeful.
I’ve got lots to share going into the new year about a new business partnership and a platform I want to build in 2021 to be able to reach even more families that need the help and services of Options and many of my trusted friends from other industries. I’ve always believed in reaching people with resources long before the crisis, and Options for Senior Living will continue to extend a helping hand when needed. The pandemic has derailed and postponed a number of plans for everybody this year. I just refuse to let it win and determine our outcome. I said I was inspired and I am. Stacey’s said to me many times I’m at my best when I’m inspired and creating!
So from salty Scott, I wish everyone who took the time to read this, to have a blessed and inspired holiday season, however choose to celebrate. My prayer for all is…we ‘believe’, and tap into the strength ‘hope’ offers. Chaos, fear, and ambivalence will not win.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!