Why Bother Lending an Ear?
Not everybody likes the holidays. Not everyone thinks “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year.” For some, happiness is not a common theme any time of the year and Thanksgiving marks the beginning of harder times ahead for them.
For some, holidays bring more stress than cheer, grandioso expectations from themselves as well as from others and haunting memories instead of Norman Rockwell images.
In light of the holidays, joyful spirits are supposed begin soaring just before Thanksgiving and come in for a graceful landing in early January. This is known as the Christmas season, the holiday season or the festive season. Unlike Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day and Halloween, the holiday season is long one.
In addition to maintaining an upbeat demeanor, other presumptions fall into our laps whether self-imposed or from family members. Traditions are a family’s trademark. But some see them as heavy, cumbersome, outdated, yet unchangeable.
For the one who volunteers to host the family gathering, preparing the menu alone is daunting. Turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes and cranberry relish, all homemade of course. And don’t forget, someone has to make the famous family batch of rolls, or melt-in-your mouth dessert.
Moreover, there is the table to set. The special china, Grandma’s crocheted tablecloth, Mother’s silverware and a festive centerpiece that represents the season.
Seating people around the table can be tricky. Everyone may indeed be related, but not everyone may relate well to each other. Like unseen ghosts, an unresolved conflict may hover between two people. Hurt feelings from some altercation in the past is not forgotten by another and differing opinions about the latest news topic will abound.
In addition to the food and relatives, there is the probability of a moment where everyone holds hands to say grace or someone makes the suggestion that everyone name one thing for which they are grateful. It can almost feel like a lie, but everyone plays along.
In reality, not everyone feels jolly during the holidays. Some of us have family members who struggle every day of the year with anxiety, or depression. This time of year may only bring out the worst in them.
Why bother lending an ear? Listening is almost as complicated and time consuming as cooking the perfect Thanksgiving meal, yet its effects are more satisfying.
Despite the effort it takes to understand someone else’s sadness when your personality bends toward happiness is not as daunting as cleaning up the kitchen after a holiday meal. Bending an ear toward someone who struggles to muster up cheer can be a heartwarming and enlightening exchange.
It’s worth it to keep one’s ears open during this season. A shared load is a lighter load.