Loneliness at Christmas

Loneliness at Christmas

Loneliness has no license to any specific season, person, place, city or event. Loneliness is universal and in this cold world in a month that should be one of Christmas blessings and holiday cheer there are many that are lonely. December has been a month of anything but cheer for many this Christmas. A siege in Sydney, innocent children killed in Pakistan and in Cairns. How many people will be lonely this Christmas just because of these three events?

Yet despite the headlines and the pain and the suffering of the loneliness that we know about there are many other forms of loneliness that go unnoticed in our all too busy world of glitz and glitter, gifts and parties, holidays and fun. Not that there is anything wrong with all the celebration. Christmas is a season of joy, a time of celebration to be united. It is filled with fireworks, families, food and drink.

Meanwhile as we walk the streets of Sydney there is a young man opposite the café. He is dirty holding a bottle of booze. Where is his mother, where is the girl he maybe once loved, where is his home, his family, his friends? Is this the life he chose? After all we are told where we are today is our choice and we are empowered to choose who we want to be, what we want to do and how we want to do it in a land of opportunity.

Are we empowered? Do you have the tools to move on? Everyone says to let go, get over whatever it is that hurts you. Let go of the past, move on. Do you have the tools to do that – this Christmas, this New Year?

In a house in the city an old lady lays watching television reminiscing about the life she once had with a house and a family filled with laughter and parties and people and friends. She is too old now to do too much. Her husband is long died. Even some of her friends have died. Heartbreaking watching the people you love disappear before your eyes. Loneliness with nothing left but memories to reminisce of what was and what could have been. Ah, what to do?

In a room we call a studio a man sits entertained between his computer and television. It’s nice to have your own space. He cooks a meal and lights a cigarette. He shuffles to the phone to take a solitary call. He takes his myriad of medications to keep him healthy. He’s not that old but he gave up a little while back. He turned his back because he thought the world turned its back on him. He is alone. He swears he suffers not from loneliness yet the lack of joy in his eye tells us otherwise. He changes the channel to another program just as easily as he dismissed the world and it dismisses him.

What have we done in such a world that has so much beauty and wonder, so much love and understanding, so much possibility of human compassion and strength?

In a flat in the suburbs sits a young man. Money is hard to come by and sometimes he doesn’t have enough to eat. The phone is his lifeline to the world. He is disabled and can’t get out much. He has a list of doctor’s that do their investigations and come up with nothing. He wanted to leave this world long ago but they brought him back from the brink many times. His loneliness as he wanders when he can the glitzy shops this Christmas looking for a friend to speak too is reflected in the words he shares with the check out girl at Woolies and the lady in the bank. He closes the door of the flat and watches the fireworks New Years Eve on TV.

In a house in the suburbs sits a woman waiting for a call from her family. It’s Christmas and her daughter won’t be there as she has to go see the in-laws interstate. She can’t be cut in two after all. Christmas lunch for years now has not been the same. She remembers the time there were gifts and a tree and cookies for Santa. In fact she has no Christmas lunch as her daughter is not there. Life has moved on from that once little girl that relied so much on her mother. Now in this glitzy busy world even a phone call is hard to come by. I’ve too many things to do. ‘Sorry mum, too busy. I got to go. Can’t talk now.’   Her loneliness gets brushed aside momentarily by the 30 second call at hearing a familiar voice.

The young man enters the party with his gifts and says hello. He laughs and drinks and makes jokes with his family and friends. Everyone loves the gifts and everyone is polite but inside him is an empty hole about the time he was left behind and not included. An empty hole of the times he was rejected, neglected, pushed aside and made to feel less than in some way.  There is no gift to fill the loneliness of that empty hole.

These people are all real. They are people you and I know. They are overlooked, ill, tired, sick, labeled perhaps in our O too busy world. They could be your friend, your neighbour. No-one knows the loneliness in another’s soul.

And this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun.  As John Lennon says – what have we done? What have we done in such a world that has so much Beauty and wonder, so much love and understanding, so much possibility of human compassion and strength? What have we done with the love, the caring and the humanity?

Some of it certainly showed for the victims in Martin Place, Sydney. Some for the children in Pakistan and the children in Cairns but what about our silent sufferers in their empty rooms reminiscing with empty hearts waiting for a phone call, a gesture, a spark to ignite that passion back in their lives?

So this is Christmas. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and as you kneel and pray, share your meals, watch the fireworks and toast a New Year spare a thought for those living in the loneliness. Maybe even find one of those people and make theirs a Merry Christmas too.

Merry Christmas everyone! May the coming year be one of many Blessings for you, your families and our world.

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website at Stressfree Management.

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