Christmas Caroling... an Antidote for Despair
Through the years I have learned enough about myself to know when I need help. It isn’t always easy to ask others to step in and assist. Especially when you are a person who works hard to be self-sufficient. That would be me. Or at least it used to be.
When my husband died seven years ago, I had to lean on others to get me through the simple tasks of everyday life. Especially during those first several months. My mother and my children pitched in to help. I could count on my mom to buoy my spirits and keep me fed. My kiddos kept me busy and quite frankly became my first line of tech support. Tom had always done that sort of thing.
Those first few months were hard. The first few weeks, the hardest.
Seven weeks after Tom died was our anniversary. December 18th. Ours had been a beautiful Christmas wedding, but facing our 43rdanniversary alone was daunting. I knew this was not something I could hand over to someone else to bear.
I considered several options. For example, I thought about spending the day in bed eating chocolates. That idea, like many others, didn’t appear to be a healthy choice. I thought about fixing one of Tom’s favorite meals and lighting our wedding candle. Eat alone? No, that didn’t work either.
I knew my family would do whatever was needed. I simply didn’t know what that looked like.
So I prayed about it.
A plan took shape. I called members of my family first and asked them to join me for Christmas caroling at my house the evening of the eighteenth. I then called several of our closest friends and asked them to come as well. My children readily recognized the date and understood the purpose. It didn’t hit my friends until the evening arrived.
Everyone brought finger foods. I ran the vacuum and made a pot of coffee.
Tom loved to sing. He loved to go caroling. The evening was a perfect way to recognize our anniversary. My family and friends rescued me through song and love and care.
I have continued that tradition. It looked a bit different the year I lived in Kosovo, but there, too, friends came to my apartment. We sang Christmas carols and celebrated the birth of Jesus and my anniversary all in one.
Last year, due to COVID, my mother, children, and grandchildren walked through my neighborhood singing carols with me. Though I usually hand out poinsettias, that year I made little cakes instead. We even caroled one song in French for the sweet family from Paris down the street.
I started the tradition to keep me from falling down a deep hole of despair. Now I find the event one of showing others how much they are loved.
It has been seven years now. December 18, 2021 is the 50thanniversary of my marriage to Tom Waters. Friends gather. We share stories and food and song. I don’t know if I will continue the caroling party next year. At least not for the reason I started it.
But I will continue to sing and shout that God loved me so much, he came to earth as a human and suffered the same sorts of difficulties I often face.
And when the time was complete, he suffered a death so horrific I cannot imagine it. But he then did what only he could do…he came back to life.
Heaven is real. And somewhere in its realms, I trust Tom is singing right there with me.