Holiday Weekends, something we all look forward to! Days off from work, days spent with friends and family, maybe a short vacation whatever it may be, we associate it with fun.
When my husband left, he left 2 days before Thanksgiving. I will never forget the sudden crushing pain of that day…and the thought of the start of the Holidays was something I couldn’t deal with. I will also never forget how one of the pastors from my church called me to invite my kids and I to his home for Thanksgiving Dinner. He and his wife didn’t want me to have to worry about what I was going to do and they didn’t want the kids and I to eat at home alone. To this day, my kids will tell you that was the BEST Thanksgiving they ever had.
However, as one holiday turned into another, I began to notice that each time a holiday rolled around, or even just a long weekend, the whole atmosphere around the house changed. The kids would fight more, taking their hurt and pain out on each other and on me. I would suddenly feel like I was fighting back tears. It didn’t matter the holiday and it didn’t matter how well I thought I was doing leading up to it, no matter what, the hurt of having a broken family would always seem to break through.
This past Thanksgiving, it had been 2 years since my husband left and it was the first holiday that this didn’t happen. Everyone was having a great time as we ate dinner with great friends, the whole weekend was spent in excitement of Christmas Tree decorating and shopping. It was the first time that I spent a holiday without that looming feeling that I was going home alone with my kids. I felt truly happy and excited. I thought, finally! We are in the clear!
LOL! Not! It is funny how grief is such a strange animal. It sneaks up on you when you least expect it.
This past weekend as the kids had extra days off from school because of unused snow days, we had an extra long memorial day weekend. Now I did work on Friday, and Saturday went fine, but as Sunday started to roll around, I began to see the hurt creep in. By the time Monday afternoon rolled around, the kids were a mess and I was barely holding back the tears. When the kids dad called to talk to them, my hurt just intensified as did theirs. As I looked at pictures on Facebook(which generally I don’t let get to me) of families hiking and boating, I really began to feel so broken again. I started questioning why? Why is this getting to me? I thought I was passed all of this? How long will this hurt linger? Will my life ever feel complete again? How long will I have to watch my kids suffer through the pain of living without their dad? The truth is that when it comes to grief, there are no time frames. It is different for each person. What bother’s you today, may not even phase you the next time. And as a child whose father abandoned her, I also know that having your father walk out on you is something that takes years and years to heal from and healing can only truly come at the hands of Jesus.
This morning as I got up and got ready for work, I felt better. But it left me thinking about all the broken families who deal with similar issues in their own way. All the single-mom’s out there who suddenly had their lives torn upside down. All the children who are forced to spend holidays missing one of their parents because either one parent walked away or they have to go back and forth between 2 families. This isn’t how things are supposed to be. It is a constant reminder of the broken, sin-filled world we live in. And while I will do whatever I can to help single-mom’s and help kids to find peace with the circumstances they find themselves in, what this weekend really did, was remind me of how much I long for the day when Jesus will set everything right. It reminded me that my hope is found in what Jesus has done and in the fact that my time on earth is short but the time I will spend with Jesus is forever.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” 2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT
So when the hurt of holiday weekends surrounds you, when the grief of your circumstances overwhelm you, remember, it is temporary and look to heaven, look to Jesus for there our hope is found!