by Marcia Schekel
Some say this is the season to be jolly, to shop and bake and decorate and mail cards, and so much more. They say it is a season of stars, hymns, and candlelight.
Some say it is their favorite time of the year. And all of this may be true for you. Or it may all be overwhelming. This time of the year is filled with expectations, and we may not be up to it.
Managing mesothelioma, in treatment or not, recovering from surgery or not, praying for NED or not, can also be overwhelming. The decisions, the appointments, the side-effects and recovery are overwhelming. Holidays may not be what they once were. And we grieve for the losses of energy, of health, of our visions of the holidays.
I find myself feeling impotent in orchestrating a grand holiday season for my family and friends. And yet, there are moments of grace — small victories. Calling a long time friend. Hearing my little grandson tell the story of Christmas. Attending an Interfaith service representing the spiritual source of Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Baha’I, and Native American communities. Lighting electric candles in my window. Hanging a fresh green wreath on my door. These are the things that are meaningful to me. What about the holidays is meaningful to you? What can you let go of?
Even when I am not feeling well, there are meaningful things I can manage. I like the title of Anne Lamott’s book, Small Victories: Improbable Moments of Grace. This line reminds me that though mesothelioma is unpredictable, there are some moments of grace I did not orchestrate, and it is up to me to notice.
We have choices and we can set limits. Let this be an encouragement for you to identify those things that are most important to you at the holidays. You do not have to do them all. Take a time out and step away from the holiday furor. Take in a movie, or church, or tea (wine) with a friend. You have a right to do things differently. Make time to recharge your spirit, and allow for moments of grace — recognize your own small victories. Light a candle. Toast your own good spirit — you are still here and we are glad!
We Will Light Candles This Season by Howard Thurman
Candles of joy despite any sadness
Candles of peace, for conflict and strife
Candles of courage for fears ever present
Candles of hope where despair keeps its watch.
Candles of love to inspire our living.