Katy Bourne

For Your Tender Heart at Christmas

POSTED ON December 22, 2014 | POSTED IN: My Blog | 4 Comments


I must concede that Christmas is indeed the most magical time of the year. Between the cheery lights, the upbeat snap in the air and the bright faces of excited children, there’s an inescapable wonder to it all. Whether you believe or not, even the elegant mystery of the Nativity can stir the most cynical spirit. It is the season of joy and possibility: the ultimate celebration.

But Christmas can also break your heart.

The holiday, with its relentless merriment, can exacerbate the ache of your hardship; it can deepen the pit of your loneliness or throw screaming light on your difficulties, be they fiscal, physical or personal. You sometimes feel like you’re watching from the sidelines. While others are seemingly infused with exhilaration and delight, your longing only intensifies. Every star, every carol and every gently tinkling bell is a reminder of something missing. You quicken your pace, hopeful to stay a beat ahead of the despair that dogs you. And despite the fantastical narrative that we perpetuate year after year, there will be no benevolent angels arriving at midnight to ease your burdens or save your weary soul.

You have to save yourself.

Even if you’re broke and alone, or sick or in exile at Christmas, all is not lost. Even if you’ve fucked up miserably, grace still holds you in her orbit. The Nativity is about finding home against all odds. Your enduring dignity and quiet perseverance are the miracles. And eventually, the laws of impermanence will work in your favor. There is connection for you someplace. You are needed somewhere. This pain will fade away, as pain always ultimately does.

So make this your day and night. Settle in for the magnificent view, the one you may have momentarily forgotten. Roam wherever you need to. But take exquisite care of your tender heart. Our extraordinary human capacity for brilliance is your gift. Your superpower is your ability to transcend – to rise above everything that hurts you and move forward in uncertainty and love.





4 responses to “For Your Tender Heart at Christmas”

  1. Bart Goft says:

    “Try a Little Tenderness” is a song written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods
    sung by Sinatra>Redding>Wilson(Nancy)>Jones(Tom)Simone(Nina)> Cocker(Joe)> and everyone from A>Z
    In the hustle of the day, were all inclined to miss
    Little things that mean so much
    A word, a smile, and a kiss
    When a woman loves a man, he’s a hero in her eyes
    And a hero he can always be if he”ll just realize

    She may be weary, women do get weary
    Wearing the same shabby dress
    And when shes weary, try a little tenderness

    She may be waiting, just anticipating
    Things she may never possess
    While shes without them, try a little tenderness

    It’s not just sentimental, she has her grief and her care
    But a word thats soft and gentle makes it easier to bear

    You wont regret it, women dont forget it
    Love is their whole happiness
    And it’s all so easy, try a little tenderness

  2. Duane says:

    After reading your thoughtful musings about the Christmas season I felt compelled to submit my two bits worth. My comments are worth just that, two bits. I too share a disdain for the holidays. I have fond childhood memories of the season. I was raised in a Pentecostal church, in a small town, so the day of the birth of Christ was significantly celebrated. But as you grow older you discover the un-truths of that celebration. Be that what it may I do not disparage Christians from displaying adoration for the birth of their Lord.

    In my view what causes some of the misery, heartache, and difficulties that you so eloquently describe is the commercialization of Christmas. This year it started around friggin’ Thanksgiving. We are bombarded with the trappings of the mind set of Wal-Mart, Target, and all the rest of the corporate minions. It reminds me of a political campaign season. Will it ever end? Not until after the first of the year because we have to return some of the crap that we received to turn it for different crap.

    Thank you for letting me vent. This season I am fortunate to spend it with my sons, their girlfriends, and portions of their families. Let me not forget to mention their damn dogs. My heart aches for those that I cannot be with. To be courteous, thoughtful, and considerate I do wish you and your readers the best of the holiday season.

    • Duane says:

      Hi Duane. Thanks for reading, sharing and for your patience with getting this comment up. I’m so glad that you are with your family this season. Thanks so much for the kind wishes to me and the people who drop by to read here.

      I don’t exactly have a disdain for the holidays as much as I recognize that they’re sometimes very difficult for people. I do agree that commercialization has contributed a lot of stress and unpleasantness and has created impossibly high-expectations for the “perfect” Christmas. Christmas is, among other things, a giant marketing scheme, which often starts with pushing, shoving and fist fights on Black Friday. Gotta have those flat screen TVs, right?

      In spite of different life challenges and heartaches over the years, I’ve not given up on Christmas completely, Instead, I think I’ve redefined it on my own terms and have also significantly simplified my observation of the holiday. I’m not a Christian, so celebrating at all is probably a little weird. But after all these years, I still find the Nativity story to be beautiful and oddly hopeful. Go figure.

      But again, I know how much this holiday can intensify the various pains of life, especially for people who are alone. That’s why I was moved to write the post. We’re all in this together. May we collectively make more peace at Christmas and always.

      Many thanks again for sharing, Duane.

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Katy Bourne is a Jazz Singer and Writer.