Not a Sermon: "Entering Advent - The Season of Preparation - Lamenting"
We attended our third Central & Southern Ohio ALS Association Chapter Holiday Party this week. It's been, and once again was, a good event for us. We enjoy, er, a, maybe appreciate the opportunity, would be a better way to describe what our being with others dealing with this frustrating disease means to us.
ALS friends and our caregivers and other family members gather to share food, fellowship, and participate in a fun gift-exchange. It's both a comfortable and uncomfortable evening as we eat together with all our various limitations and abilities. We laugh as we share gifts and once in awhile steal a particularly pleasing one to our unique personalities. The PALS of our Columbus area support group and their relatives and friends are a new and special social community.
I had a different sort of night the day before this uplifting gathering - they happen every so often, although the thoughts that trigger them are always in my mind and on my heart. I suppose it was partially the result of all the family gatherings of the previous few days, but that doesn't explain it entirely. I'm not sure there really is an explanation for being down a bit. All I know is, I was overwhelmed with thoughts about what the future holds, what I'm going through, what Dorothy and my kids and the rest of our families are trying admirably to face, how one lives and how one dies while daily and hourly struggling for air but can still eat anything as long as the bipap machine is available for when I'm finished, a being invaded with the feeling of hopelessness, etc. - you get the picture.
It's over. I'm OK. Each day holds its own joys and challenges. Relax. We cried as I shared what I was feeling with Dorothy, and we recovered. So, here's what you're going to have to put up with for awhile. I've decided to preach - write - my way back to an even better place - back to sensing some realistic hope while alive and not for some afterlife relief concept (sorry, probably a little strong for some!).
Advent, Christmas Eve and the Christmas season were some of my favorite times - and I have resolved to make them so again this year! Sure part of it was the staff gatherings, Dorothy's decorating the house (our home is as beautiful as ever because of her!), family gatherings, shopping (yes, I did enjoy shopping especially for Dorothy), concerts, school programs, the sharing of Christmas and holiday cards (get over it people we piggybacked on a secular season and not the other way around!), caroling, remembering, and all the other seasonal events. But another big part for me was the wrestling with the scripture passages full of mystery/magic/myth and attempt to make the whole thing believable or at least practical and helpful.
That's right, I'm going to preach to myself for the next few weeks and you have to/get to read/avoid/contemplate/argue with/endure what I post! I may post a few other things because I'm having some Ottawa moments, etc. as well, so you may have to check out the site once in awhile just in case.
Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! Seasons Greetings!