The week before ChristmasThread Started December 20 at 12:14PM
It's been one of those weeks, and I thought I'd share why with you all. Not for sympathy, or even just to share, but for a moment of thought.
On Saturday night, before my husband and I prepared to go out for the annual Christmas dinner for those involved with/working at Sark school, we sat at the computer and read together the email I'd had from our close friend about his wife's recently diagnosed rare cancer. She's having an op in January but they aren't too hopeful.
Out we went, enjoying a lovely meal with friends. Sunday morning brought the news that one of our friends who had been at the do the night before had suffered a massive stroke at half-past midnight. He'd been fine at the dinner. Though it looked like it was all over for him, with only machines keeping him alive, yesterday the news was that he had opened his eyes, and was airlifted from Guernsey hospital to Southhampton for emergency surgery. Maybe he'll pull through, but is unlikely to return to us as he was.
The point of all this is that we only have a limited time on this earth. Though atheist I might be, I've always loved Christmas, because it's the one time of year when there's a collective celebratory mood in my country. Forget the presents and commercial rubbish, it's an opportunity, even if it is just for one day to say, 'knickers' to all the shit going on in the world.
I know not all of you celebrate Christmas. You have other special times and days. But for those of you that do, grab it with both hands. Do it with family and friends, if you can, for the sake of those who won't be able to this year, and perhaps never will again. And for the time YOU won't be able to do it again.
I'm not good at living every day like it's my last. You know, you have to earn a living, clean the house, etc. But if we can all do just one day, even if it isn't Christmas day, where we remind ourselves of what we have (if we have it), and what's good about the people in our lives, the town we live in, the folk we know.
Trump, Theresa May, Putin, Kim Jong, terrorists, distant wars - let them be for a day. Look after the small pictures in your life.
If you are grieving, alone, or struggling this Christmas, reach out for help. You'll be surprised where you might find it.
Best wishes to you all, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing this year. Find joy in all you can. Tomorrow might not always come.
Reply on December 20, 2017 09:32 PM
Emma's story reminds me that Christmas is not all beer and skittles in my household either, for a couple of reasons, only one of which I'll go into here.
For as many years as I can recall, I've written exactly one letter a year. This letter is a "yearly update" which I send to some friends of mine I haven't seen in a very long time, along with a Christmas card. Every year, I also receive one from them, always before I send mine.
This woman (who happens to be a distant relation, although I wasn't even aware of that when we met) and her husband are lovely people. They both also have had the worst possible luck when it comes to health imaginable - and no, they haven't brought it upon themselves through their lifestyle choices. I'm talking seriously life-altering problems.
In the letter I received just a couple of days ago, I learned that he had to have a series of operations this year, and was given only a 50/50 chance by doctors of surviving. Thankfully he has. But the couple can no longer be together, as he needs care that she can't, due to her own ill-health, provide.
So what's the point of recounting all this? Well, I suppose it's just to say that sometimes, when I think I've been hard done by in some unimportant aspect of life, my thoughts turn to people like my friends. And then I think of how they get by with very few complaints, managing by the strong bonds between them and their loved ones. And that brings us back to Emma's points about being thankful for what we have, and embracing it. And we don't necessarily have to believe there is someone special to thank to be thankful.
Which gives me as good an excuse as any to post my favourite Christmas carol, as I do every year. For those in the northern hemisphere, you will probably find the imagery rather unusual for Christmas time, but it's how we do it down here.
Oh, and if you like the song, please consider downloading it from iTunes or one of the other sites it's stored on. You can find a list of these by following the clip to Youtube. Every penny of your dollar or so will go to help someone who needs it.
Short Works Rating
Reply on December 21, 2017 12:49 AM
While I do not celebrate Christmas I do respect my many friends that do.
As I write this I am feeling the sadness that comes from losing a very dear friend...we had been friends for what seems like a lifetime...This friend was also a shut-in suffering from several medical conditions...and we spoke every day...
Just the thought if this loss brings tears as I can truly say, I have many acquaintances, but very few friends and she was one that was very dear to me...She and her husband stood up with us when we married, and we did the same for them..her son and my daughter were born one day apart, and her husband died in June, and mine passed in September of the same year.
My friend was not a Witness, but she was a devout Christian...and did celebrate Christmas...I never interfered with her Christmas celebration, and we always had dinner on a day between Christmas and NewYear's Eve...we were two couples that had been friends most of our adult lives.
Life goes on though, but the hurt doesn't leave so quickly...its been just four months since she passed, and I can't stop crying whenever she comes to mind.
Early this year I loss a member of my congregation that had been ill for quite a while, and finally passed away...and there are several that are quite ill...sadness is a frequent visiter to many of us, and there's little that we can do about it.
Another one of my sister's just had chemo and radiation treatments for a stage one cancer in her breast...15 years ago she had a mastectomy on her other breast and her oncologist thought it best to treat this new cancer, although it was caught early, with chemo, and radiation.
I understand that you are not a religious person, but what touches the heart of a religious person like myself, also touches the heart of an Atheist...we are all human...
I try to speak to those I care for, often, as most are in their late 70's and 80's and don't get out very much...I won't try to explain what it means to feel comfort in a relationship with a loving God, no need to do that, but I know that my faith helps me to deal with what ever troubles come my way.
However one chooses to live their life, it can be a good life, one that respects everyone, helps anyone that they can, and tries to share whatever it is they may value, with others.
My wish is for all people, those that celebrate Christmas, and those that do not...I pray for peace, for everyone, every night as I say my prayers...sometimes when I'm tired the prayer is short, other times I remember those that are special to me, by name.
One thing I've learned is that money isn't always what makes life worth while...I'm able to do all the things that are important to me, and then some, yet I have no choice but to accept that my health will not get any better.
I sincerely wish you and your family A Happy and Healthy New Year...
Just Some Thoughts!
Reply on December 22, 2017 01:48 AM
As a non-believer in Christmas, I believe we should all remember, acknowledge, respect, honor, and be good to one another 'every day'.
However, I DO humbly accept Christmas gifts--of no less than $1,000 worth, of course.
Let none claim I'm not religiously tolerant. Ho! Ho! Ho!
One man's take on life told thru humorous short stories from his childhood on into his mid-50's; from feeling like an outcast in school to being an adult. His intent: hope. Hope in that you shall see, no matter how rough life can seem -and is- at times, that you may be able to enjoy it. Each story will bring a laugh, a smile, a tear, a lesson.
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