How My Christmas Tree Helped Me Heal

It was December 2017. In the thick of my fill in the blank season. I had decided I wasn’t going to completely skip decorating my home for Christmas. I have always loved Christmas trees ~ especially one with extra twinkle lights. So I pulled out my Christmas tree, plugged it in and there it was…a section of lights out.

And I immediately thought, “That’s about right. Lights out on my tree. Lights out in my life.”

I left my Christmas tree like that for two years.

And here is why: I was an avoider of emotions most of my life. I would brag about how tough I was and would keep plowing forward in any circumstance. Sometimes this can serve a person well. But when it’s your way of life, it is not healthy. I knew I could no longer be an avoider of emotions and heal in a healthy way.  And I had to heal healthy. I just had to.

So for the last two years my Christmas tree with the broken twinkle lights was lit almost every evening from Thanksgiving to New Years. It was hard to turn on the tree at first. It was a painful reminder that the lights were out in certain areas of my life. But as I chose to turn on the tree each evening, it became less uncomfortable to see the section of unlit lights. And my heart grew fond of the gap in my tree.

The gap was a reminder that I showed up in a hard season. The gap was a reminder that even though parts of my life were dark and empty there were other parts as bright and full as the twinkle lights that worked. The gap was a reminder that I put the tree up, turned on the lights and allowed myself to sit in the uncomfortable. I showed up for myself. I didn’t avoid my emotions. (And I am still a tough cookie.)

This year I retired my Christmas tree with the broken twinkle lights. It served its purpose and coming into this season I knew it was time I brought a new tree into my home. With every last twinkle light working! I even added some extra lights for good measure.

Merry Christmas, friends! ‘Tis the season for a tree full of working twinkle lights!

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