People are surprisingly honest in their Christmas messages — not always in the public card sent out, mostly online these days, or the holiday letter. More often they are honest in the follow up, which gets more personal.
Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled was published in 1978. I don’t recall all that much of the book, but I’ve always remembered the first line. “Life is difficult.”
A friend’s late-40’s son was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017. With targeted gene therapy, his tumors receded. Now, they seem to be coming back. This man is not only a loving son and brother, he is a husband and father of school aged children. Life is difficult.
A friend with three beautiful kids sends their photo; she and her husband, and the kids, are smiling. Her message says that it has been a difficult year for their family, without going into detail. I know that one of the kids has been a handful, and that child is now in middle school. I can imagine that “handful” has gotten far more complicated, far more fraught.
A friend’s beautiful, accomplished adult daughter has never been good at picking men, and is on her way out of a second very bad marriage. My friend and her husband are there for support, ever the parents.
My family is healthy, and stable. The grandkids are thriving. Sara and Ben are planning their spring wedding. In 2018 I lost Minga, my dear friend of over 50 years, and my cousin Adrienne — the fun cousin, only a few years older than me, the one everyone loved being with until she lost her mind and felt people were coming to kill her, maybe even us. I have much to be grateful for, along with pieces that bring deep sadness. Life is difficult.
Life is also precious. I wish more of the preciousness than tribulation for all of you in 2019. Stay in touch. Stay well. Stay hopeful.