The following post is about being alone in the holiday season in a new place.
Now, it is the winter holiday season and I am alone. I have made tentative forays into the community, mostly through church, even though I am not a church person. And now that church is closing. It’s a sign of the times, right? Churches are closing because no one attends. This is often where we found community in the past. Who knows if the contacts I’ve made will develop into friendship, as the main meeting place is gone, but the congregation has been very friendly and has made me feel welcome.
For now, I am really sad. I was reflecting on this. I have spent this season alone before. But then I realized – not really. Even if I was alone for the exact season, I lived near relatives and I knew they would be back.
So what is different now? – I don’t have a dog! Any other time I was alone I had a dog, or I had borrowed or partially adopted someone else’s dog. My last dog, Kelli, died four years ago and I miss her terribly. It really hit me how important our connection is to animals. I have a cat, thank God, and she is great, but I really miss dog energy. What comfort and enjoyment they give. And they make me want to play!
I often visit the local farm store where they have live chickens. I was feeling lonely so I went there and started a conversation with a mother chicken. When I imitated the calls she was making – she seems to constantly gab – her three little chicks hid under her body. For protection? I don’t know. But I looked again and there was this cute little face peeking out at me from under a wing. Just staring at me. This brought me great joy!
So why did this bring me great joy? This connection to another species felt so wonderful, so beautiful! Maybe this kind of connection can help you too, in this often lonely time of year.
Who do you connect with during this season. What brings you great joy? If it is not family, then what is it? Your pet? Maybe you connect with nature in some form – a tree, or birds that gather near you? Maybe you have rituals to connect more with the spirit world at this time of winter solstice? Or perhaps you find more ways to connect with humans, even if it is just sitting in a coffee shop or volunteering somewhere.