Home on a Friday: Missing Loved Ones during the Holidays

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appleImagine the setup: 27 year-old guy, home alone on a Friday night, 9:30pm and heading to bed.

That was me a few weeks ago. Am I cool? You know it.

Wrong. Around 9:30pm, on a Friday, as I was snuggled cozy into my bed, I decided to refresh my Facebook newsfeed one last time.

And there it was: a picture. A picture which revealed to me that I was NOT somewhere I really wanted to be.

FIVE of my friends, together, having a good time…a really good time apparently, WITHOUT ME!

“WHAT THE HECK!,” I thought. “Come on! Not even an invitation, a text, a phone call, a tweet, a FB message, or anything.” There are a million ways and reasons to call me and invite me along.

Some friends I have, I thought!

The experience – that one photo – left me with so many questions, so many feelings. I wondered if I had any real friends at all. Did they exist? Did they really even think twice about inviting me along? Why wasn’t I invited? Should I call them and let them know I saw the picture? Should I ignore them altogether and just be ‘on the outside?’

Maybe you’re familiar with the experience. You’re home not doing anything only to find out through social media that friends are hanging out without you. You see the pictures, the check-ins, the fun they’re having…leaving you with the feeling of missing out, big time.

If this is not your experience, you may not be a Gen-Y Millennial. Apologies for this culture-specific post and social media references.

Heaven is not just an idea. It’s a place.

This whole Friday-night “millennial dilemma” got me thinking about the holidays and missing loved ones who have passed away.

After all, I’m also an introspective, overly-analytic, Catholic Millennial.

It’s important to remember in times of loneliness and sadness, certainly during these sacred seasons of the year, that our deceased family and friends aren’t gone. They’re no longer here with us in a tangible way, to be sure, but they haven’t disappeared into nothingness. They’re not forever lost and forgotten.

No, they’re merely somewhere else. They’re in a place. They’ve ‘checked-in’ to their new home, which hosts the best party they’ve ever been to.

When our friends on earth are up to something fun, they often share it on social media. They post pictures, write status updates, and send personal messages to let us know where they are and what they’re up to.

Sometimes we, too, get glimpses of the invisible portion of the Kingdom. Some have tangible senses, see visions, or receive what they believe to be messages in dreams. Certainly the veil between the ‘visible and the invisible’ seems to be quite thin for many of us.

Even if we aren’t privy to receiving  any updates or ‘spiritual sharings’ with those on the other side of the veil, perhaps it’s because our loved ones are too occupied with what they’re experiencing:

“This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1024)

So during these Holy Days and Holy Seasons, in those times of sadness when we are missing them the most, thinking that we are left abandoned  ‘home alone’ on a Friday night, let us remember that they are somewhere; that they’re not gone, not forgotten. They’re just somewhere else now. They are in the Kingdom’s banquet hall, or at least on their way hopefully, having the best time of their lives, literally.

Follow up note: To make sure I don’t end up alone on a Friday night again, I’d better make sure I mention that my friends didn’t exclude me from fun. Turns out they had a special invitation from somebody else who had a few tickets to this event. They’re good friends. 🙂

Ryan Eggenberger

Ryan Eggenberger

Ryan Eggenberger is a partner at Little Flower Strategies, LLC. He writes about travel, marketing, and his terrible parking skills. Follow him on twitter at @RyanEggenberger.

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