This time last year, I honestly wasn't certain whether or not I would survive to see this Christmas. I am ecstatic! While my health has not quite yet caught up with my head, this year is so much better than last. I am 7 surgeries in and holding up..well, I have a cold, but in my case, that just doesn't count! ;)
And EVERY Christmas we have so much to be thankful for, so first things first. Thank you Lord...for being. Christmas is because of Who we celebrate- Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He came into this world through Mary, the immaculate virgin of Nazareth. .....and for always being there for me, in light, in darkness, in strength and in weakness. Even when I turned away. You were there. You are there. I hear you - more than ever before. I see all the little miracles now. And I am certain that I have missed many in years gone by, but I silently wait and hope you will continue to show me more. And you do. I am humbled by your grace. You are my every coincidence. Amen.
To my breast cancer sisters, I pray for you each night. You are never far from my heart. From my mouth to God's ears, I pray for your speedy recovery. Timi, Janet, Suzi, Norma, Adrienne, Cindy, Debbie...there are so many of you that I could name another 50 names.......For each one of you, my wish is peace and hope.
My new definition of HOPE is this: Humility, Obedience, Pampering, and Empathy. We should be humble; courteous and respectful of others. Obedience is that we should care for our bodies as God intends and treat it as a temple. We should find the time to pamper our own tired bodies, and others for they fight some kind of battle, too. And finally, empathize with others to understand who they are and why they feel as they do. These things will help make all of us better people.
My last message this beautiful Christmas evening is in regard to another type of blog. On Facebook, we have a "Random acts of kindness" blog. I love it. There are several people committed to doing at least one kind thing for someone else each day. I am so very moved by this group. I hope it becomes HUGE and I would love to see everyone I know take one day and pay it forward or perform an act of kindness. There is so much unjust and there are a lot of people who could benefit from your smile, your hand, an opened door, a bag of groceries.....heck, buy a stranger a lottery ticket...who knows, YOU could change their life. That may be a stretch, but you get the idea.
So, today, while this may not be so random, here is my story. I have been under the weather, but I got up and did it anyway....I have a brother who has spent more of his life behind bars than not, he has hurt many of our family members by lying or stealing. I could go further, but its not necessary. I took cough medicine, ibuprofen, put on my best smile and went to see him on this Christ-mas day. After having to wait for more than an hour to get in, I finally got to see him and was glad I went. It did us both a world of good. We sat and talked and laughed with some other folks nearly the entire time. And I fed him - lots of junk food. His favorite is a honey bun with peanut butter with m&ms mashed up on top. His smile was so genuine and he couldn't believe that I came to see him on Christmas. I knew that it had been important to him. He is my brother, and I miss him. And I smiled to myself as I thought, "I know, I know...WWJD? He would visit." Message received. Like I said, I'm glad I went. While you cannot change stupid behavior, you can promote harmony and give of yourself to help another.
While this may not fall into the category of a random act of kindness and I don't really think it should, I tell the story because it is the immediate effect my visit had on my brother that is the moral of the story. When you do something, big or small, for another person out of love or compassion you bring something special to their day......and in that one special moment all is exactly as it should be.
My children have been blessed with an abundance of gifts and I have had the ability to "adopt a child" for Christmas. I bought her many things, and trust me, it did more for my soul than it will have done for her this day...but oh how I would have loved to have been there when she opened her Princess Barbie......that was number one on her list!
Merry Christmas everyone. I hope that in your day you have kept Christ in your 'mas and listened to him as you've gone about your busy schedules. Take the time to quiet your soul and hear him for he IS talking to you.
And, now, how does all of this relate to my cancer and Christmas. I am here, and I get feel, live, smell, laugh and take it all in. Every single breath of it. And my promise is to continue to keep Christ front and center, do good for others, random or not, and always, always, keep HOPE in my life.