I tried to find the Canterbury Cathedral Advent services. They posted nice pictures and hashtags that take you to long lists of things that are, at best, marginally related to Advent. The last time I looked, I saw someone posted a knitted naked old people Advent. Okay, let's get one thing straight about that. I have nothing against naked old people. When I get in the shower, I become one of the ranks of naked old people. I just don't want to see little knitted versions of them carousing around their teeny living room, playing with their little knitted dog and leaving little knitted cookies for Santa. I can't unsee that. Canterbury Cathedral Social Media People? Please post LINKS! This also goes for your other series. Do you know how distressing it is to see "Becket Pilgrimage, Part Two?" Where is Part One? Do I search for "Becket?" When you think about it, searching under the terms "Becket" and "Canterbury Cathedral" is a bit like looking for "Joe Bob" in the Lubbock, Texas directory.
Safe to say, I'm having a hard time keeping up, and that's just over the liturgical calendar. For some people, it's a far more serious thing to contemplate. Not keeping up can mean feeling isolated goes from being a vague concern that will pass when everything gets back to something resembling normal to a crumbling sense of self-worth. It can mean having to balance meeting family expectations regarding holiday customs with paying rent, feeding yourself and your family, keeping everyone healthy and safe. Not keeping up can mean a motherlode of ways we don't meet some arbitrary standard when it comes to spirituality, relationships, or material comfort.
I bring this up because I am talking to people whose distress is beyond what I normally encounter on a typical day at work. Our little part of the big for-profit that employs us usually sees around eleven suicidal callers in a month. We had over fifty this weekend. At one point, I took three suicidal callers in a row.
This year has been hard for a lot of us. It's safe to say that the stressors we've been dealing with are well out of the realm of the usual first world problems. It's been pretty darned brutal. And this holiday? For many people, it's turning out to be a big bowl of creamed, chipped wretchedness. If you're doing okay, that's great! Just don't take for granted that everyone else is doing the same. Drop a note. Tap out an email or text. Reach out and ask people who might not be on everyone's list how they're doing.
Are you okay? If you can't answer that right away, let me ask you: Do you need to talk to somebody? There's no shame in asking for help. If anything, it takes strength to admit you need help. I have been keeping up the proud family tradition of working with the wobbly-pated for almost three decades now.* I have seen what it takes and I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who seeks help.
According to the Weebly statistics widget, most of the people who read this site are in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., so here are some places to contact if you're feeling like everything is hopeless. I hope you'll use them if you need them. And please remember: You are loved. You are cared for and you are here for a reason. On top of that, you are wonderfully and fearfully made of star stuff.
US: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Text Chat
Canada: Crisis Services Canada 1-833-456-4566
Crisis Services Canada Text 45645
UK: Samaritans 116 123
Samaritans Online Chat
*One ancestor rode with General Hood on multiple campaigns, another followed Patton into the European theater. Yep. We are genetically predisposed to be crazy-magnets.