A Post For Those Who Find The Holidays Challenging

By Jack Canfora (But not really – someone way better – and best of all – departed long enough to free me of any copyright issues!

Besides, the letter is written to someone named Kappus, which I repeatedly misread as Krappus, so that’s comic gold right there…

Rome, 23 December 1903

My dear Mr Kappus,

You shall not go without greetings from me at Christmas time, when you are perhaps finding your solitude harder than usual to bear among all the festivities. But if you notice that it is great, then be glad of it; for what (you must ask yourself) would a solitude be that was not great? There is only one solitude, and it is vast and not easy to bear and almost everyone has moments when they would happily exchange it for some form of company, be it ever so banal or trivial, for the illusion of some slight correspondence with whoever one happens to come across, however unworthy …

But perhaps those are precisely the hours when solitude grows, for its growth is painful like the growth of boys and sad like the beginning of spring. But that must not put you off. What is needed is this, and this alone: solitude, great inner loneliness. Going into oneself and not meeting anyone for hours – that is what one must arrive at. Loneliness of the kind one knew as a child, when the grown-ups went back and forth bound up in things which seemed grave and weighty because they looked so busy, and because one had no idea what they were up to.

And when one day you realize that their preoccupations are meagre, their professions barren and no longer connected to life, why not continue to look on them like a child, as if on something alien, drawing on the depths of your own world, on the expanse of your own solitude, which itself is work and achievement and a vocation?

Why wish to exchange a child’s wise incomprehension for rejection and contempt, when incomprehension is solitude, whereas rejection and contempt are ways of participating in what, by precisely these means, you want to sever yourself from?

  • R. M. Rilke

I wish you all love, peace, and health in the coming year. I wish all of us that, in fact.

5 thoughts on “A Post For Those Who Find The Holidays Challenging

  1. hahaha to Krappus. Thanks for that laugh. Today (December 23rd) happens to be festivus lol. Thanks Seinfeld.

    I have a book called “a minute with yourself.” It is designed to be a short reading to do daily. The first one speaks of solitude and how difficult it is for people to get into their car, for example, and not turn on the radio or make a call. I am equally guilty. Solitude is a tough one for me but I suppose that sometimes, those concepts that are most difficult, may be the most important.

    Wishing you all true happiness, health, and may you be constantly showered with blessings today and always.

    1. It depends on the year, I suppose. I used to LOVE the holidays, but that’s been a struggle, to put it mildly, the last many years. What I try to do is 1) not put any pressure on myself to “enjoy myself” – I find that usually yields the opposite result 2) do something nice (pay off a lay away Xmas present for someone anonymously at a Walmart or something. Some years it’s not a lot at all, but anything helps and 3) be thankful I have friends and family I can wish a merry Christmas or happy Hanukkah or any other holiday that applies.

      That helps me a bit. Sometimes. Your mileage may vary 😊Have a happy and healthy New Year

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