Wednesday, November 21, 2018

When the Holidays aren't Happy by Danica Favorite

My girls in the hospital with our horse, Ava
Hi Everyone, Danica Favorite here. And, when I was thinking about this post over the weekend, I had an entirely different post planned. But life has a funny way of interfering with those plans. And, as we've been dealing with some crazy stuff at our house, I realized that it's not going to be the holiday we'd hoped for, and that's true for a lot of people.

Yesterday, one of our horses, Ava, was seriously injured. She'd gotten herself stuck in the horse shelter and cut herself on the metal siding. If it wasn't for the fact that my daughter was off school and training one of our other horses, we would likely have not found her in time, and she would have bled to death. It was a horrible day, and my daughters and one of their friends worked tirelessly to help the horse until the vet could arrive. We also had some other friends who came over to lend a hand. At one point, I asked the intern, who is a good friend of ours, if our horse would make it. He told me it was 50/50. She did well through the night, and today we got to see her, and everyone is encouraged by her recovery so far. She is not healthy enough yet for the surgery she needs, and only then will we know her prognosis. We've already been warned there will be a lot she won't be able to do in the future. But the fact that she has a future is enough.

We got home from the hospital today to find three of my chickens, including my favorite rooster, dead. It was a new level of pain and sadness for our family.

As we've spent time mourning as a family and dealing with the ups and downs of not knowing what will happen with the horse, how we will pay for it, and all the other details, like figuring out how to make a safe place for her when she gets home, fixing the chicken coop, etc., the thing I told my kids as we all alternated breaking down in tears, was that it's okay to cry and not be okay right now. We get to feel however we feel, and it's safe to do that in our house.

So what does this have to do with the holidays and everyone else?

I think about all the others who are also not having a great holiday, and I know that not only are we not alone, but so many others have it worse.

You may not know what the people you meet are going through, but you can make a difference in their lives, even in just a small way.

After we took Ava to the hospital, I still had things to do for Thanksgiving. I was a harried woman in bloodstained clothes (which you couldn't tell because of the color), trying to pick a few things up from the store before I had to take my daughter to dance, and I hadn't had a moment to breathe, let alone cry, and I still didn't know if my horse was going to live. But as I was trying to find what I needed, I stopped and noticed all the harried people in the store, doing the same thing I was. Maybe none of them had the horrible day I had. Maybe some of them had it worse. But we all needed the same thing: to get our stuff done and on to the next thing.

There was one lady, very beautiful and professional-looking, who kept blocking my path in every aisle. Actually, I think she was blocking me at the moment I had my ah-ha. Despite how pretty and put-together she was, she looked super stressed.

When I found everything I needed, I got to the checkout, and they were all really busy, long lines. My turn finally came, and that lady got in line behind me. She only had one thing in her hands. So I turned and asked her, "do you only have the one thing?" She said yes, so I told her to go ahead. The way her face lit up made me realize just how beautiful she really was.

I have no idea what kind of day she'd had, or what had been troubling her. Or why it had taken her so long to find a block of cheese (which she had to go through every aisle for!). But I know, from the way she looked at me, I'd been a bright spot in her day.


There's a quote about being kind, because everyone is fighting a battle, and it's especially true around the holidays, when people are dealing with losses, grief, having to be around difficult family members, trying to do everything perfectly, and they're trying to get all the same stuff done you are. So give them a little kindness. 

Over the past few days, the thing that has meant the most to me is the kindness of others. I thanked a friend who'd been texting and calling me with info as we tried tracking down someone who could help us, and she told me she hadn't done anything. The very fact that she'd been there was a huge gift to us. Countless people are praying and checking in to see how we're all doing. That means a lot.

If you know someone who is going through a rough time, show them some extra love. If they're like, "ew, get away from me", give them their space. And if it's you who needs a little extra love this holiday season, don't be afraid to reach out to the safe people in your life and let them know you're hurting and need TLC. Take time to take care of yourself. It's okay to say no, and if you need an excuse, say you're not feeling well. Because it's absolutely true if you're feeling beat up by the holidays.

It's okay if the holidays aren't happy for you. Like I told my kids, how you feel is important, and you get to feel how you feel. So if they aren't happy for you, that's okay. You're not alone.
About Danica:

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado.  Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.
You can connect with Danica at the following places:
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  1. I'm so sorry about Ava and the chickens. I can't imagine how hard that was finding Ava like that but I'm glad your daughter was around. I hope she has a long and happy life. You words struck a cord with me. You never know what someone is going through in their life. No one knew what you were going through. Thank you for sharing. I hope your family has a blessed Thanksgiving.

  2. Danica, I'm sorry about what you've gone through, but you're so right about how the holidays can be difficult times for many folks. My mother died while visiting for Christmas, and for many years, the joy of that glorious day was overshadowed with my sense of loss. Somehow grief, depression, sadness seems even worse during the holidays. My prayers go out to all those with special needs, whether physical, spiritual or emotional. God bless us all in our joys and our sorrows.

  3. Danica, I'm praying for you. You've had a lot placed on your plate. In your words I see so much strength and grace. And God was definitely with you since he made sure Princess was home to help Ava. I think that is so much more than coincidence. Your words really resonate with me because I know people who hate this time of year and it triggers them for various reasons. Kindness is the best gift of all. Blessings!

  4. So true, we may never be fully aware of the difficulties those around us are dealing with. Kindness is always the best response. Praying for Ava's recovery and for your strength through all you've been facing.

  5. Danica, we have horses and rabbits, so I know what Ava and your chickens mean to you. My heart goes out to you! And I thank you for the reminder to be kind in the middle of the seasonal chaos.

  6. What a wonderful reminder. Even when people aren't treating you the greatest, it might not be for the reasons you think. Leave them with a smile and kind words.

  7. Danica, thank you for sharing what's happening in your life right now. I am so sorry for your troubles, and I admire your ability to see the bigger picture in the midst of a tough season. Thank you for the gentle reminder to treat others with kindness.

  8. Danica, so sorry to hear about the horse, chickens and rooster and all that you have gone through. And you are so right we never know what others are going through at the holidays. If we do know we need to give them encouragement and show that we care. Thank you for reminding us that we also need to help others and sometimes it’s even something that can be accomplished with a few words or just a small gesture. Thanks again.

  9. Hugging you from afar, Danica. You are so right. This is the time of year for an extra dose of being Jesus, not just talking about him.

  10. Our church is doing the Bible Story called The Story. Last week was Ruth. We were challenged to be a Boaz or a Ruth to someone. And yet, as I read your post, Danica, I realized that you were indeed a Ruth to that woman at the grocery store. You were unselfish in your own time of stress. May God bless you for that small act of kindness in your difficult time.

  11. Adding my hugs, Danica! So sorry to hear what you're going through, but thank you for sharing your heart. Being kind is something we can all do. I hope you find some peace and happiness this Thanksgiving.

  12. Danica, you had a rough week but your grace is amazing. We never know what people are dealing with and I so love the quote you mentioned about everyone fighting their own battle. Sometimes, one kind gesture can change a person’s day. Thanks for reminding us of that.

  13. So sorry your horse injured it’s self. I’m praying she will make a speedy and full recovery. Your words about kindness ring so true. Hugs.

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