Out In the Cold

This winter, it’s cold outside. Hopefully not cold inside.

Sometimes cold is of our own making. A friend of mine isn’t the best at handling his finances. So when he drove to another state to spend the holidays with family, he tucked his gas bill into his back pocket to mail along the way. And left it in his pocket. For two weeks.

He returned home Saturday night to a cold apartment and had to wait until Monday to get his heat turned back on.

He was in the cold – literally! His fan would click on, but the fan was only circulating the cold air inside, which didn’t warm him at all. And when he took a shower, it was very quick, since there was no hot water.

His freezing situation was of his own making.

But sometimes, we’re in the cold through no fault of our own.

Being “in the cold” means being excluded, ignored, or forgotten. It’s being neglected by others who will not allow you to share the friendliness and warmth of their activity or relationship. It’s being alone – totally alone.

Two of my family members have removed themselves from my life, simply because they were offended by something they mistakenly think I did or said. I have no idea what, since they quit talking to me. But, as far as they’re concerned, I’m in the cold – excluded, ignored, and forgotten.

Except I haven’t forgotten the relationships we once had, the love and fun we shared. I felt free to be me, to share, to talk openly in their unconditional love. But I must have said or done something that offended them and their love is no longer extended to me.

I’ve tried to apologize for whatever it is they think I’ve done, but to no avail. They continue to be angry and refuse to forgive me, so I’m still excluded from their lives. Well, maybe that’s not so terrible, as they are habitually angry. Life is too short to waste it dealing with negative people and I’ve learned to live without them.

What about you? Have you turned your back on someone who was once close to you? Did you explain what was bothering you and give them a chance to set it right? Maybe a new year is a time for a new relationship.

If you’ve put someone in the cold, maybe you could warm up to them and welcome them back into your good graces. An apology would go far in rebuilding those bridges you thought you’d burned. And humility might look good on you.

Or maybe you’re the one on the outside, getting the cold shoulder and being blocked on social media. You may have warm memories like I have, so it could be time to extend an olive branch or eat humble pie and ask forgiveness.

Try one more time to apologize for whatever it is the other person believes you’re guilty of. Maybe sending a fruit basket or taking them a Bundt cake would make it easier. Be sincere in whatever you say. Of course, being honest about your feelings makes it easier to be sincere.

But if the other person is nasty, negative, or critical all the time, it may be in your best interest to let them keep you in the cold, out of their reach. I’ve done that with several people, and life is much calmer without them.

A new year brings a chance for a fresh start. Maybe you could spend the rest of the year basking in the renewed relationship you thought you had lost forever. Or take time to cultivate new friends who will love you, support you, and make your life better.

It’s a new year – and time for new or renewed relationships.