The Christmas holiday season is such a fun and joyous time of year that we look forward to them with eager anticipation. Yes, I know, I know that is not the case for everyone, so when the pope talked recently about pain and suffering during this time of year, I wanted to share his prayers with you. Here the pontiff is talking about the violence throughout the world, the persecutions, and subsequent suffering that accompanies these travesties. But there is another type of suffering that has become widespread in our world, it's loneliness; however one got there, it's a painful state of being.
My own parents are perfect examples of that loneliness I'm talking about. They divorced after 26 years of marriage and 3 kids. Leaving the three of us bewildered, disappointed, and pretty much lost in the dust at the beginning of our own adult lives, we were 17, 20 and 22 when it was finalized. Now, so many years later, they are both still single, living alone and depending on friends, neighbors, and the paid professionals to help with their needs. Everyday, they wake up alone, eat alone, and handle their daily routines alone. Neither of them eat right, have a hobby, or a steady best friend to lean on. My mother is riddled with arthritis and is in constant pain due to a recent back injury. My father has diabetes, hypertension, and depression, he's financially strapped and always complaining about having to work into his 70's from poor planning on his part earlier in his life.
Basically, my parents are alone due to selfishness and the lack of charity in their marriage on both sides, I know, I was there. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't fair to the family. It didn't have to happen; they didn't have to be living out their "golden" years alone. They were not thinking about the future when this all happened, but they are living it now.
During the holiday season, my mother doesn't decorate, she doesn't bake those special cookies we always loved at Christmas, my dad doesn't get a tree, doesn't wrap lights around the outside of the house, neither seem too excited about this time of year and just go through the expected motions of getting the grandkids something (my dad doesn't do that anymore). I know that there is something else missing in these two lonely people, Christ. The joy of Christ, His peaceful presence, and the hope of His love.....it's hard on them, and we three. My two brothers never really got over the divorce. Forgiveness is not used in the same sentence with them when it comes to talking about our parents. As for myself, I love my parents more than I need to forgive them...if that makes any sense.
Still, there is that painful knot that takes hold of all five of us, especially during this time of year. So, when you pray for the suffering in the world, don't forget those who are living lonely lives, too.
The pontiff invites All to Pray for Consolation, Reconciliation, Peace
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is asking all people of goodwill to pray during the Advent season for those who are experiencing situations of violence, intolerance and suffering.
The Pope made this appeal today after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.
"In this Advent season in which we are called to nourish our expectation of the Lord and to welcome him in our midst," the Pontiff said, "I invite you to pray for all the situations of violence, of intolerance, of suffering that there are in the world, so that the coming of Jesus brings consolation, reconciliation and peace."
He continued: "I think of the many difficult situations such as the continuing attacks in Iraq against Christians and Muslims, of the conflicts in Egypt in which there have been deaths and injuries, of the victims of traffickers and criminals such as the drama of the Eritrean hostages and the hostages of other nationalities in the desert of Sinai."
"The respect for the rights of all is the presupposition of civil coexistence, the Holy Father added. "Our prayer to the Lord and our solidarity can bring hope to those who are suffering."
If you or someone you know is considering divorcing your spouse. STOP! What happens now will be nothing compared to what is in the future: loneliness. Leaving one for another has a price, leaving because it's not "fun" anymore will be rewarded with even less fun in the future. Take heed of my message as I have seen this time and time again in so many other families, it NEVER goes well into the future. Some of this can't be helped, but if it can be.......
As the song goes, "love the one you're with" start again, this time with Christ in the middle.
May we learn from these examples and strive toward stronger families, stronger marriages, and stronger children as a result.