During this time of year, many ask, how do I find joy and peace amid the hustle and bustle of the season, and my own sadness and pain?
At Widowed Friends, we believe it starts with hope.
The candles we light and the messages we send to one another during December are all about hope, but not hope as “wishful thinking”. We do these things because we’ve just come through the darkest, longest days of the year. Candles and sparkling lights symbolized the fact that the darkness is going to lessen, and the days are going to gradually get brighter.
Since ancient times, people all over the world have done the same, with various winter solstice celebrations honouring the “return” of the Sun. These solstice traditions have influenced holidays we celebrate now, such as Christmas and Hanukkah. Hope isn’t “maybe”. Hope is for certain. It’s just a matter of time.
In the same vein, author Brené Brown explains that hope is not an emotion, it’s a way of thinking. Being hopeful can be a struggle, but by learning to hope we can get to a place where the light will return in our own lives as well.
“…hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our abilities. Hope is Plan B.”
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
Facing the season in this way brings a helpful perspective, both in the way we react to what’s happening in the world around us, and what’s going on in our personal lives. For example, last year, the world was in a pretty grim state. We were in the middle of full shutdowns banning us from even seeing our family and closest friends.
This year isn’t as good as we had “hoped”. Many are still understandably hesitant to gather like we did in pre-pandemic times, and instead of moving past masks, we’re talking booster shots and continued restrictions. Yes, things aren’t over, but, with scientific knowledge expanding every hour, and children now getting vaccinated and booster shots for everyone, we’re better off than last year.
At Widowed Friends, we’re hopeful because of all the new relationships we’ve built over this past year. The fact that so many are reaching out to us tells us that we’re not the only ones that have learned to hope.
So, we ask each of you this: when looking for hope this season, where do you see small signs of hope, and how might you build on these?
In other words, when the light returns (because it always does), how are you going to celebrate that light? It may just be a glimmer, but a glimmer of hope is still hope, and with the longest day of the year behind us, that’s very good place to start.
With our sincerest blessings throughout this season of hope,
Stephanie, Penny & Lesley
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
– Desmond Tutu