Some of us walk into Advent
tethered to our unresolved yesterdays
the pain still stabbing
the hurt still throbbing.
It's not that we don't know better;
it's just that we can't stand up anymore by ourselves.
On the way to Bethlehem,
will you give us a hand?
(Ann Weems, from Kneeling in Bethlehem)
At this time of year, I'm aware that some people must feel as did the Psalmist, when he wrote so achingly, "I am like a desert owl,/ like an owl among the ruins./ I lie awake; I have become/ like a bird alone on a roof" (Ps. 102: 6-7). Single pigeons. Blackbirds singing in the dead of night. Like Eleanor Rigby and all the lonely people. I guess Paul McCartney knew something of what it might be to be lonely, even surrounded as he was by people.
This calls for compassion I don't always have, sensitivity that lies beneath my superficiality, awareness of others in the midst of distraction. Cheeriness and holiday spirit for such folk are like poison. You can't fix them. You can be with them and extend a hand, maybe, while God chips away at their darkness. That's Advent, for some.