Life is a cycle. As there is birth, so there will be death. Yet we enjoy one and generally have an aversion to the other. Understandably it is the loss, and the enduring truth of it that we find difficult to manage. When we build friendships and relationships, we enjoy moments of fun and laughter, or of deep intimate connections whilst never having the thought that this person will die, or indeed that we will. In fact, we indulge completely in the experience, as if this bond will never end. Or that when it does, we will be able to cope with the pain. How brave this is!
The pain is often much greater than initially envisaged, but it is a reality of life, and therefore learning ways to manage our pain is a life skill. Learning to help someone else through their pain is another life skill. We don't want to see loved ones suffer and want them to be get better fast, or recover quickly. But it is a process, in the same way as cooking is. By wishing it, the chicken does to get cooked faster. Sometimes all we need is to be brave enough to sit with someone in their pain. You may not take away the pain, nor the fact that they alone may be enduring it. But you may ease it by letting them know they are regarded or loved enough for someone to be with them, to hold their hand. In that moment, a new connection evolves for both sides, one that has a depth that must be experienced if life is to be lived.
So this Christmas, find someone who needs a smile from you, or a hug and a laugh. Maybe just a chat a over a pint. Maybe someone that needs forgiveness or who you have hurt and need to ask for forgiveness from. It shouldn't take an annual event for this, but sometimes that is a good place to start.