A considerable amount of time passed between writing these two poems, yet, they seem to belong together. They remind me of valuable lessons about jealousy and how reality may substantially differ from appearances.
We all have scars, myself included.
During a period of extreme unhappiness, it was surprising to have people making statements to me wishing they had my life. If they had been aware of my struggles, discontent, and inner sadness, such statements would never have been made. While wondering how anyone could be envious of my life, recognition of the dangers of my own jealousies emerged.
It is easy to look at someone who appears successful or happy and want parts of that person’s life for our own. However, no one lives a life free of challenge and we rarely see the whole of a person’s life. Knowing the sacrifices necessary to achieve the point of envy may make it less appealing. Also, ongoing and future struggle must be considered.
Taking what someone else has requires the whole package be taken – good and bad. Fortunately though, we can change individual parts of ourselves. We can draw inspiration from successful people, modeling the behavior and actions of those we admire to better ourselves. But we must use observations of others to build on the greatness we already have. Envy will achieve just the opposite.
If it isn’t already obvious, these are lessons I am still learning.
The holiday season may not be a time of happiness and joy for everyone. For many years I have been among those who experience some darkness during the time of merry and bright. The jubilation is just too much at times and it can be a struggle to remain engaged and not become isolated. This isn’t to say there are no moments of cheer. In fact, the times of darkness can allow me to see great value in the simplest moments of joy.
Over the years, holiday festivities were never of great significance in my family. We always gathered on Christmas Day at my parents house to spend time together, but it was not an over-the-top celebration. A day of simple togetherness was enough. The light of holiday time dimmed a bit more for me when that togetherness was lost in 2013. Our tradition may have been simple, but it was something to cherish.
In the summer of 2013 my dad was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. By December his health had declined significantly and he was in a great deal of pain. On Christmas Eve my stepmom called to say the usual gathering was not an option. She had a terrible cold and the pain had become too much for my dad to get out of bed, let alone deal with having a house full of people. On Christmas evening, dad ended up in the hospital. He never returned home and only remained with us for two more months. It was an extremely challenging time, and although my relationship with that man was a tumultuous one, I miss him.
There was reluctance to share this story and poem from fear of tainting the joy of the season, but healing comes from sharing. I know I am not alone in my struggles during the holiday season, and I know I will not be alone in my healing.