Sunday, 2 December 2012

Hope....In All Things and People

For me this is a very special Sunday.  It is the first Sunday of Advent which leads me through the month of December to Christmas Day.  Every year, the meaning and weekly themes of Advent really help me navigate the increasing materialism that bombards me as Christmas gets closer.  The marketing of the retailers who cash in on the "Christmas Rush" overwhelms me and I know of other people that just want to do away with Christmas and the expensive demands of it.  Advent is my antidote to this crush of commercialism.  So this week is the week of HOPE.

Last year, I was focused on HOPE as the hope for a diagnosis that was not cancer.  I had to readjust my hope to the hope of it being a cancer that was curable and not terminal.  Through the grace of God, my prayers were answered and I continue to be in remission and "cured".  This year my HOPE is that of a mother who traverses the journey of children growing into their own beings and hopes that everyone's identity and relationships remain intact and healthy.  The other day I came across some treasures that my children have given to me over the years.  There was a small hand of a 4 years old imprinted in plaster and painted.  There were various cards of appreciation and humour which were made with guidance of teachers but still carry the whisps of my children's personalities.  There was a hand-crafted wooden lovebird which was coloured with crayons and had feathers of various colours glued to it.  My heart overflowed with tender, loving feelings while tears flowed freely.  These little treasures helped ease my current emotional aches by providing me with good memories and hope of things to come.  The HOPE of advent really is applying to my hope that my children will successfully become well-adjusted teenagers.  Then my hope is that they will become young adults that are ready to step over the threshold of our home and embark on their own exciting journey into careers and their own lives.

This Fall has been a little difficult as I have struggled with grief.  With this week's theme of HOPE, I'm looking forward to the lessening of the grief that I've been feeling.  Grief has been on my doorstep through the loss of friends due to cancer, the sense of not being able to be as supportive as I  would like with friends that are struggling with their own health concerns and the pain of losing a child to the teenage wilderness where they do not need me as much and don't want me around them as much.  A couple of weeks ago, I came across this quote from Mark Nepo "To dwell on our reward while performing a kindness, splits our authenticity."  This message made me realize that I need to fully offer my sincerity and love without any expectations of a return or "reward".  It is helping me navigate these tumultous times where I grieve the loss of my children's need of me.  But.....I truly believe my children will need both my husband and I again.  I just have to look at our own lives from teenagers to young adults to full adulthood.  We both did return to needing the advice and friendship of our parents as we became parents and they became grandparents.  So in this season of Advent, I am embracing HOPE for healthy familial relationships.

Mark Nepo's quote from above also reminded me that we really need to block out the distractions around us as we communicate with teenagers.  I have always believed that when you have a conversaton with someone, you look into their eyes.  A friend of mine always says "The eyes are the mirror to the soul".  I once saw Dr. Phil (on television) perform therapy with couples and he had them form "diads" where the two people sat facing each other and focused on the eyes of the person with whom they were communicating.  They were forced to truly see each other.  They were focused only on each other.  To tie into the quote from Mark Nepo, the two people were so focused that they were not distracted by what they would gain or by what they were going to say next.  My HOPE is that I will continue to learn to stay focused on the end result and not distracted by the current behaviours and "small" things.  HOPE.....what a wonderful gift to have.

I have HOPE for a successful longterm recovery from lymphoma.  I am filled with HOPE when I compare now to where I was a year ago.  I have glimpses of relationships that will return to being healthy and this gives me tremendous HOPE for not just this Advent season but for the next number of years.  I have true HOPE that my grief will ease.  I have HOPE that this Christmas season will revolve around who is gathered around my Christmas dinner table and Christmas tree rather than what is under the Christmas tree.  I have HOPE as the birth of Christ approaches.

I am currently feeling that little flutter of excitement as I do some of my Christmas baking.  Today my husband and I will be putting up the tree.  Our tree is never decorated in a chic way with all the ornaments and ribbons in matching colours.  Our Christmas tree is decorated with ornaments that all have sentimental value.  So as we take each and every ornament out, we reflect on who gave us the ornament and we recall the precious memories associated with each ornament.  Some of the ornaments are hand-crafted by our children when they were young.  As a result, some these ornaments are starting to look a little battered and worn.  But they still hold sentimental value and belong on our Christmas tree.  Some of the ornaments are my grandmother's (who has been gone for a long time) which she passed along to me when I moved into my own apartment.  There are ornaments that my students have given to me over the years as appreciation for teaching them the joy of music.

So today is the first Sunday of Advent and my heart is overflowing with warmth and HOPE.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, Cathy. There is so much feeling in it. This is my favourite time of the year, not for the commercial side of it, but for all the wonderful things it stands for.

    And you are right about the kids. They do return after they are done with the teenage wilderness!