If you haven’t seen the video about the impromptu concert in the park, you should.  I’ve linked it above.  Saw it on facebook this morning in the middle of a normal work day and found myself getting pretty emotional about it by the time it was over.  I’m not saying it’s going to have the same impact on you, but I spent some time thinking about why it hit me so hard.

I’ve written before here on this blog how I think it is so important to let yourself feel.  I spent over 20 years in a very difficult marriage with a spouse who alternated between completely ignoring me and screaming at me.  The end result of this was a person who was forced to hold back whatever he felt for fear of being ridiculed or shunned.  So over the last year since the separation and divorce, I’ve worked very hard to not let feelings go by unchecked.

Please understand, I’m not saying that we should be governed by our feelings or let them dictate our actions — in point of fact, that is exactly what the ex has repeatedly done and it has created a “walking on eggshells” situation with me and with the kids and her as well — though I’m not sure they are old enough to understand that.  What I am saying is that when you feel something, it’s usually an indicator of something in the subconscious mind that is needing to be understood.  I’m tearing up here, what in the world would cause me to tear up during a McDonald’s commercial?  Why does a concert in the park cause emotion?  Why am I so incredibly happy when my girlfriend comes to meet my friends for the first time?  

All of these emotions occurred suddenly and uncontrollably.  Which leads me to ask why and to investigate the root causes of them.  I think that is such a healthy approach.  The tendency for people in an alienated parent situation is to try to ignore the pain and push it away.  It se

Christmas at DTW

ems counterintuitive to most of us, but the embracing of the pain and the emotion actually helps us work through it better and often quicker as well.

So after this period of introspection, I think I understand why the concert in the park hit me hard.  In addition to the efforts to actually “feel” over the last year, I’ve also worked hard to see God’s intervention in my life, to take advantage of the beauty around me and to notice things that went unnoticed in the busy-ness of married with kids life.  It’s a characteristic in me that I’ve cultivated and hope to carry throughout the rest of my life, whether I’m a step-dad at some point or get reunited with my kids.  Noticing these serendipitous moments has become a mission of mine.  Like the picture from Detroit Metro Airport in November — Christmas kinda snuck up on me and it made me smile.  Seeing the tree in the concourse was a calm serendipity in the middle of a busy travel day.  It was noticed.

So in the midst of all the pain you are all dealing with this holiday season, Stop.  Embrace the sorrow and the sadness.  Cry a bit.  Feel.  Then also take time to notice the little glimpses of heaven that God is dropping in front of you every day.  The friend saying “I would love to see you for lunch.”  The Christmas wreath on the run-down apartment building.  The dad carrying his daughter on his shoulders to see the lights better.  Thank God for the beauty all around you and for where he is leading you right now.  In the midst of all the painful memories of Christmas gone, embrace Christmas now.

God Bless us everyone.