I used to call them my demon nights. Sleep patterns and the hours between 3 – 4:30 am can really mess with our heads. Our insecurities and vulnerabilities are magnified and it’s hard to find our inner core. I frequently experienced insomnia at this hour and went through a silent hell. I felt utterly alone in the universe. Anguish.
I don’t experience those torments anymore, Thank God. Somewhere between then and now I have, over the years, become at ease in my own skin. Between long-lasting and robust friendships, discovering my own unique strengths I bring to the world, and a particular romance which, though it didn’t end in marriage (a sadness I will always carry with me) nevertheless dropped tender love into my heart, between all these, I’ve become (generally) at ease and secure. Also rooting myself into a faith and belief in an all-loving and tender and compassionate God has been foundational.
There’s a proverb that says: Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it.
So on this Christmas Day, I encourage us all to hold lightly to the gifts we received (or maybe didn’t) – delight in them, yes. But mostly hold them lightly because mostly what we all need – by definition of being human – is love and belonging. What love and belonging we each have in our lives, be it little glimpses or in spades, let’s soak it up. If we need more, let’s set our intentions to build and deepen our community. If we have some to spare, let’s open our hearts more widely to others.
And for those who are inclined toward religion, let’s open our hearts all the more to the God of Love, and spill that love as indiscriminately wide and far as possible — Peace, on earth, good will to all.