There’s something about the holiday season that reminds us of living in the in-between. As Sarah Bessey says, it’s living in the “both/and”. This world is heartbreaking and scary and full of anger. And it’s also breathtakingly beautiful. It’s spray painted hatred and radiant pink and blue sunsets. It’s fighting over politics and reminding someone whose lost their memory what your name is, and it’s the smell of pine and the dancing of lights in the darkness.
Raising a family is exhausting and overwhelming, it’s always being certain that you’re doing it wrong. But it’s also bedtime giggles and chubby baby cheeks and Christmas concerts. It’s being over-touched and exhausted and it’s watching their eyes light up at the sight of Santa Claus.
Celebrating the holidays when a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can leave us weary, continually reminding, re-listening, and watching with vigilance. But it’s also holding hands and listening to the classic music of Christmas and maybe dancing to a song or two.
The holidays are full of parties and gifts and fraught relational dynamics. And they are magic and twinkling lights and snow-falling-down. They are busy calendars and recurring family drama. And they are “Jingle Bells” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
It can be hard and sad and full of grief. We mourn loved ones lost. We mourn memories failing. We mourn all the things that just aren’t quite right. And at the same time, it can be beautiful and quiet and reminiscent of childhood joy. It can be peace and joy and the hope of another year to come.
It’s learning to live in the in-between. To stand in the sadness of right now and, at the same time, hold the magic of right now. Each moment can hold a magnitude of loss and abundance. We can long for what is not, while also cherishing what is. This is the magic of this season.