Is it all done yet? The decorating? The shopping? The food? The wrapping? The cards? Is the house clean, do the children have their holiday clothes at the ready? What about the pets, are they clipped and coiffed?
And you? Have you checked those fingernails lately? Does your holiday outfit hide those pounds you have decided to keep until spring?
Are you done worrying yet? Worrying about whether the gifts are enough, will they be liked? Will others think you were generous? How is the bank account? Strained? Overdrawn? Are you hiding your stress?
And what about the loved ones in your life who are ill, have you worried about them enough? Is everything getting done at work? Is it done right? Are you procrastinating to get other things done? And are you worrying about that?
At lot of pressure
Holiday time can be triage time, but even if we take that approach, chances are we are still trying to get it all done, and look happy and organized to everyone around us. It’s a lot of pressure.
And yet. It will never be enough. And it will never be perfect. Why? Because imperfection is part of life. There will always be something broken, something dirty, something wrinkled or stained.
There will always be traffic, the unexpected weather, the unkind or judgmental remark from a friend or loved one that upsets us. It’s part of life. It’s natural and normal and to be expected.
The problem with this part of life, is that it stresses us out. Imperfection makes us anxious, possibly angry. We want to fix it. And it affects our relationships and our joy.
Time, feelings and expectations
We forget so easily that the holidays, no matter what our tradition, are about love. Sharing. And that thing none of us seems to have enough of…time.
We forget that in a month most of us won’t remember what gifts we got, or gave. We won’t remember if we got all the decorations up, or even if we got our nails done before the holidays.
What we will remember, is how we felt. What we will remember, is how we made others feel. There is a saying that “no one will remember what you said, or what you did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
And that can get complicated, of course, because we all have different expectations about what others should do to let us know we are loved.
Some of us do see love expressed in expensive gifts, others of us feel loved when someone helps us out, still others of us feel loved when we are given time and space, while others of us feel loved when we are hugged and listened to. Sometimes, we feel loved when someone says “sorry,” or “I forgive you.”
Love is complicated. Which is why all religious traditions give us something we are rarely if ever able to give ourselves, or anyone else. The gift of perfect love. Love that forgives all things. Love that heals. Love that does not judge. Love that is perfect. Love that is enough.
And so dear reader, no matter what your beliefs, this is the season where we all look for that perfect love. We look for it for ourselves. We look to give it to others. And I can tell you, that the only perfect thing in this world that truly is enough, is that love that you seek.
The good news, is that it is already inside of you, just waiting to be found. Just waiting to be shared. And it is enough. And it is perfect.
The Rev. Ellen Huber is pastor of Christ Episcopal Church in Easton.