The Holidays Cometh


Lonely Holidays

Yes, my divorced Catholic friends, we are once again up against the holiday season, a time where many people just want to go to sleep and wake up on January 1st when it’s all over. They’re quite happy to miss all those not-so-subtle reminders of what they’ve lost due to divorce. From Halloween to New Year’s Eve, the reminder – the rub – always seems to be more acute than any other time of year.

So, as the holidays approach, I’d like to stand on the sidelines of your life and be a bit of a cheerleader for you as you struggle through your challenges and fight the good fight because frankly, I’ve been there and I know how bad it can be. As you face all those reminders that will occur throughout the next several months, I would like to offer you some practical wisdom you can apply to your situation, and that is this simple point: when you’re lonely and feel like a fish-out-of-water, a misfit, leftout, or misunderstood, remember how precious you are to God.

Catholic mystic Gabrielle Bossis, a French woman living in France from 1874-1950, kept a diary of her interior conversations with Christ that later was published and titled, He and I. In it, she recounts one particular day when she had this beautiful exchange with Him:

March 1 – In the Rhone Valley. At the station.
You’re watching the direction in which the train will come. That’s the way My eyes are fixed on you, waiting for you to come to Me.

Can you imagine that? Can you see that in your head? Our loving Savior searching for you, waiting for you? Incredible! Your divorce may leave you feeling extremely alone, even in a crowded room, and when that happens, just close your eyes for a moment and contemplate this description of how much God wants to make you feel loved; how important you are to Him, to the point that He is out there, searching for you. He wants to spend time with you. Another illustration of this incredible fact comes also from Gabrielle’s conversations with Him:

March 20 – Rome. Easter. The Minerva Church. I was thanking Him for His suffering.

Never will your thanks be filled with as much love and joy as I had in suffering to save you.

A magnificent thought, right? Contemplating the sheer fact that not only does God love you in a way no human could ever love you, but that He impatiently waits to be with you can help you rise above the commonly noted depression and negativity that comes with being divorced during the holidays. Spending time with Him in prayer and contemplating how precious you are in His eyes can bring great peace.

When you feel you have lost everything and are left empty-handed; when it seems as though the winds of gossip and criticism are howling in your direction; where those you love have left you alone; there’s one thing that can’t be taken away from you… a treasure far greater than any other… the interior freedom and peace that only comes from the love of God in your life.

“Be not afraid!” as Pope John Paul II put it, for in this state of loss, you are wealthier than any millionaire if you are connected to Christ. By joining your heart to His, He will give you everything you need: courage, strength, patience, love, forgiveness… nothing will He deny you if you should only ask Him for it. And after you have fought the good fight, He will reward you with the eternal treasure of life with Him in heaven.

Tomorrow is the Feast of All Saints, also known as All Saints Day, and we will celebrate all those who have gone before us to heaven – the ones who are cheerleading for you and are there to help if you ask for help. They fought the good fight and won and they did so while enduring difficult lives and painful suffering; much like the suffering you’ve endured because of your divorce. Which means that, if they can do it, so can you!

So hang in there, friends, and don’t give in to being depressed. Don’t allow the world make you feel alone, like you’ve got no one to love or be loved by. Spend some time with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration, holy mass, or wherever you can put yourself in His presence and give Him the opportunity to show you how much He loves you.

Thanks to so many of you who have written to me. If you haven’t yet and would like to, I can be reached at asklisa@catholicmatch.com.






7 Comments

  1. Nina-927863 October 31, 2013 Reply

    It’s been 7 years now of broken family traditions. Facing Thanksgiving without my children. Cope with the memories of family celebrations that included multiple grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles – that’s what I will do. Minimize any significance to these holidays – it’s just a meal. It’s just one day. Or, I could have my siblings and their kids around me, having pity for me that my children are not here. Asking questions that I don’t care to answer. I think I will find a soup kitchen and stay busy. I knew I would end up alone at sometime, I just wasn’t expecting it to be this soon. But the concept of being precious? I can’t comprehend it.

  2. Marina-1024960 October 31, 2013 Reply

    I certainly did not want a divorce. I was astonished that my spouse would even consider it. In my complaint to our parish priest over my ex’s desire for divorce and anullment, he said this to me:
    “The Church knows that sometimes we just marry the wrong person.”
    He struck me speechless, and it gave me the courage to go through the process.
    I can’t recommend the anullment process enough for those of you who are divorced. I learned more than I even thought possible during it,and I know now that it was an extreme blessing. Yes, the holidays can be and are lonely sometimes, but the “traditions” I had were based on a lie. You can make new ones, and you can find the right person to help you. Please don’t ever discount the process the Church offers you.

  3. Michele-989480 October 31, 2013 Reply

    Carry the Spirit of God in your heart and you are bound to feel joy! Feel grateful and enjoy your blessings. When I first got divorced I spent the holidays surrounded by the love of my family and my childhood friends’ extended families. Don’t stay home alone (unless you enjoy it). When you see a happy married couple give thanks because that is a sign of God’s love in the world. Delight in children especially during the holiday season—their faces glow with excitement. I love walking down the city streets during the holiday season—admiring the beautiful store displays, people watching, listening to festive music, enjoying mass and the decorations at church. Volunteering is a wonderful way to feel close to God by helping those in need especially during the holidays. I found it extra hard waking up to a quiet house during these special times but if you have a pet jump out of bed and pour your energy into having breakfast with the dog–hahaha! The moment I wake up in the morning I say”Good morning God! Thank you for getting me safely through the night.” Keep God as your focus and all will be as He has planned. Enjoy the holiday season! Its tough but it DOES get better.

  4. Nina-927863 October 31, 2013 Reply

    I am in the last stages of the annulment process. Whether or not the Church grants a decree of nullity has nothing to do with 3 decades of my life and those of my children. It may change the status of the marriage that I ‘believe and lived’ but no… there are no new traditions to replace extended family. My kids have to find new traditions. They now have to choose where to spend their holidays. It is nothing but a burden. I have to settle for something much less than what I spent almost 30 years building.

  5. Jane-933948 November 2, 2013 Reply

    O k so I used to have a Pollyanna type attitude about everything. Not so much right now. And then there are us widows that are also, orphaned and childless. O K so I am feeling a bit sorry for myself. The more years go by the harder the Holidays get, at least for me. I am happy for everyone else’s loves and successes. I just hold it in and smile grieve in private. Thanks for letting me vent in cyberspace.

  6. Paula-982894 November 3, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for this “practical wisdom”, Lisa. I’m certain I will re-read this many times over the next few months.

    At the end of a day of interior suffering this is the passage that resonated deep in my soul:

    “When you feel you have lost everything and are left empty-handed; when it seems as though the winds of gossip and criticism are howling in your direction; when those you love have left you alone; there’s one thing that can’t be taken away from you..a treasure far greater than any other…the interior freedom and peace that only comes from the love of God in your life”, I was touched by the love of our Blessed Lord and given into the joy and fruit of joining my suffering to His Holy Cross.

    God bless you and keep you!

  7. Elena-1001912 November 6, 2013 Reply

    Lisa, I am so grateful to God for you and your special ministry. I can always count on you for nutrition and balm for my wounded heart. You are the best!

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