Friday, December 24, 2010

The Big C...(Christmas)

I love Christmas.  Or, at least, I used to love Christmas.  This year, has been different - understandably so.  When everyone else was running around in holiday cheer, I was trying to figure out what there is to be cheerful about.

And then a couple of days ago someone asked me why I even celebrate Christmas.  I am Unitarian Universalist (a group that does generally celebrate Christmas), but this person has talked to me many times before about my spiritual beliefs and she knows that many of my beliefs are based in Buddhism.  So - the question didn't surprise me much since I'm sure she doesn't have a good understanding of what being UU is all about as it relates to Christmas.  I could have told her that Unitarian Universalism was founded in Judeo-Christian traditions and left it at that, but that wouldn't have answered her specific question.

I'm grateful, however for the question - it was an unknowing gift from her to me -  because in answering the question, I reclaimed my joy of Christmas. My answer was simply that I love to celebrate the man Jesus was because of the ideals for which he stood. I try to live my life by the simple lessons he taught. It's all about love.  Every lesson he taught was founded in the concept of love. Gratitude comes from a place of love.  Compassion (a very Buddhist concept) is all founded in love.  Charity...springs from love.  Kindness...comes from love. The first "tenet" of my UU faith is a "belief in the inherent dignity and worth of every human being" - this, too, is based in love. You can see Jesus's message, and indeed the message of so many great leaders, is based in love.

So, as I endeavor to practice mindfulness while Chris and I journey this new path set before us, I must remember to hold on to these concepts and not allow the cancer to rule my life.  I must mindfully focus my thoughts to the positive, and what more joyous way to do that than to celebrate Christmas and all the love that surrounds us each and every day.

Speaking of that. Chris has been amazing. He's teaching me many lessons already on this journey, from his consistent "it is what it is" mentality and resolve to do whatever it takes to beat this thing, to his humor that has not waned one iota during the past month. He has a fantastic attitude, and the quiet strength I always loved about him will carry us both through this.

Buddha said "All that we are is the result of what we have thought."  It's a good thing Chris's thoughts are focused on beating this and not wallowing in it.  There's lesson number one he's taught me.  No wallowing!  I think I was headed there, but my friend's innocent question and my husbands quiet resolve helped me focus my spirit to where it needs to be.

Just a quick update for those of you who don't come here to read my musings, but want status updates on Chris...he had his second round of chemo yesterday.  Everything went well. Some of the side effects that he felt the first time around have this time come a little quicker and stronger.  Most notably the cold sensitivity. For any of you that know Chris, you know he has a real sweet tooth.  So, to see him try an ice cream sandwich yesterday and then throw most of it away, you know it must be seriously annoying! :)  He said he could hardly taste it, and it just made his mouth tingle.  Last time, he was still able to eat cold things - not this time around.  He even had to drink his milk warm. Fortunately, that side effect is just annoying.  I hope he avoids the nausea again this time around.

Well, it's snowing again.  On his first chemo weekend we had a massive snowfall of about 18 inches.  I snow blowed for hours.  This snowfall is expected to be only about 3-5 inches.  I can handle that with my eyes closed!  Actually, I can't wait to get out in it and start blowing it :)

I wish you all a very merry and blessed Christmas!

Julia (and Chris)


Gary said...

Merry Christmas from Pam and me (and Lebowski and little Isabella too!).

Anonymous said...

You are both hereby granted permission to spend one entire day wallowing. Then, get up and get on with it. We will be strong when you cannot be.

Sending waves of joy and love right now - (((((((((((((((((.

Feel that?

-Jon B.

Anonymous said...

May the warmth of our LOVE reach from here in north MN to all of you in south MN. Joe, myself, and the girls think of you often but today we really sent the vibs your way as we gathered together for our celebration fo Christmas.
Love ya' Carrie