I sat in my chair staring at the computer screen. I had no story for this week’s blog, or, as a matter of fact, for the previous week. I could hear the clock ticking in the background, and the dogs pacing in the other room. My cat, Kezera, jumped on the back of my chair and brushed up against my head. She laid down by my neck and placed her paw by my ear, as if to tell me I needed to relax.
For the better part of 2 weeks I stared, off and on, at my computer screen. I had nothing, no story, and no story line. I couldn’t even think of a memory I could fall back on, or was there? I was stuck in the infamous “no mans land” that all writers encounter at least once in their writing career.
Once again I shut down my computer. I needed a diversion. I bundled up and went to work outside. There were several weatherization projects that needed to be completed before the rain and snow set in. Now seemed like the right time to finish those projects. Besides, I was not looking forward to the holidays. The Grinch had come for a visit and was refusing to leave. Obviously, I had forgotten about last year and the new traditions I had established then, or wanted to establish.
As I puttered in the yard, and thought about the holiday celebrations that were about to commence, I began to look around for the “perfect Christmas tree.” Usually we put up our Christmas tree a couple of days after Thanksgiving, though last year I broke with tradition and didn’t put up a tree until a few days before Christmas. Last year new traditions were forged and I wondered if this year would be the same.
I saw one blue spruce that had potential but knew getting to the tree was going to be a challenge. The darn blackberry vines had over grown the path to the tree. The question at hand now was very simple, would the tree be worth the effort? I stared at the area for several minutes trying to develop of a simple workable plan of action when a thought raced through my mind. The thought was short and to the point.
“Am I making this situation more difficult than it needs to be, and if the answer is yes, why? Sometimes less is more.”
At that point I knew I needed a holiday intervention, and the sooner the better.
Why an intervention, or more specifically, a holiday intervention, you might ask? Interventions are necessary when a person losses touch with the meaning of life, and I had lost touch with the meaning of the holidays that were coming up. I had lost touch with the reason or reason’s surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas. But how could it be different? How could an intervention help? I needed a plan of action. Yet where would that plan of action come from? I needed help.
Within three days help arrived, and it came in a form I never expected. It came in the form of a lonely, cranky elderly gentleman, named Paul.
Paul’s wife had passed away earlier this year. She had been his grounding force in life. They had been married for more than 50 years, and she truly was his better half. Pat’s love for Paul was so strong and so secure that Pat saved Paul from himself on more than one occasion. Paul tends to act impulsively, and Pat knew how to deal with his impulsiveness. Once she died though his impulsiveness raised its ugly head and had taken over.
After about an hour of working in my yard I was hungry and needed to eat. A trip to the local diner/bar would do the trick. As I walked into the diner I saw Paul sitting at a corner table eating his lunch. I ordered my food and asked if I could join him at his table. Paul looked tired, and disheveled. It was obvious he was not taking care of himself. He knew my dad had been in the hospital and asked how my dad was doing. In the course of the conversation he began to share with me the last few weeks of Pat’s life, and about the day she died. The pain in his eyes and on his face was haunting.
I sat at his table for about 20 minutes while my food was being cooked and visited with Paul. He dominated the conversation, though I did not mind. He needed to talk. He needed to voice the pain that was in his heart. By the end of the conversation Paul asked me what my holiday plans looked like. I shrugged my shoulders and told him I was not sure. I was just hoping the holidays would go by quickly. He looked at me and simply said,
“I use to think the same way, but I would give anything to have past holiday’s back, because I would still have Pat.”
He took a long breath and then sighed. Tears began to form in the corner of his eyes as he wished me happy holidays. Shortly thereafter we parted ways, but I could not get the conversation out of my mind. I could not escape the look in his eyes or the tone of his voice. He hurt for a lost love. He hurt for what was, and rightfully so. Yet unknown to him he was my intervention. His pain opened my eyes to life and to those hurting around me. His pain gave me the focus I needed for the Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations that was soon approaching.
This year I decided to volunteer for our community Thanksgiving dinner. This year I will have an opportunity to sit and enjoy a good meal with those who are truly alone. Those who have no family or who have broken family relationships and are need a good meal and pleasant conversation.
Sometimes we need a holiday intervention to help us to reconnect to the “meaning of the season.” Thankfully I had Paul help me with that.
Are you like me, and are in need of a holiday intervention? If so, begin looking around to those who are in your life. Potential holiday interventions are all around us, and many times it comes in the form of a hurting, lonely, broken person in need of some respite care. Find that person or persons and make the holidays better for them. You never know who may need help with dinner, present’s or funds for basic living needs. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Celebrating with friends and family, or those who have become like family.