Love, light and every precious moment

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ah, the race to the finish line is on. Today is the day my daddy called Christmas Eve, Eve — the almost-time-for-Santa day.

When I was a kid, my skin could hardly hold in the excitement I felt the week leading up to that magical Christmas morning. The anticipation of what was to come was almost more than I could stand.

Funny, how different those days feel now that I am older. I would not describe what I feel as anticipation. No it’s more like mild worry about whether or now I’ve got everything done and in order.

Sometimes in the middle of the last-week Christmas madness, I get a flash of how this holiday has morphed into something that is completely out of control. We seem to be trying so hard to capture the illusive Christmas spirit that we are wearing ourselves slam out with the effort.

Oh yes we give lip service to the “true meaning” of the holiday. We gaze at manger scenes and tear up at the carols. We talk about peace on earth and the birth of a person whose life we are supposed to emulate in order to bring peace on earth. We don’t seem to do a great job of that much of the time.

I was thinking about this and letting myself get to a place that was, well, less than positive. In my head, I listed all the things that are wrong, the ways I think humans miss the boat and miss what this season is supposed to celebrate.

In the midst of a downward slide into the “bah humbugs,” I heard the news that a friend was admitted to the hospital in serious condition. He has struggled with cancer for several years and complications from that struggle are why he is in the hospital.

A few weeks ago, I ran into him in the dollar store parking lot. He was sitting in his automobile while his family shopped. Many times, I thought about him since he shared the news of his illness, but I had not talked to him face-to-face.

I gave him a hug through the vehicle’s window and we started talking. He told me about the treatment he is taking in Texas and that he felt hopeful about the possibility of it buying him precious time.

He told me he wasn’t asking to live to be an old man. No, he only wants enough years to see his young son become a man.

Then he told me how he and his doctors talked about what an important part attitude plays in the treatment of cancer — well in the treatment of any illness for that matter. He said cancer taught him to tune into his own body and honor what it needs.

Sometimes, he said, what it needs is to simply be alone and quiet. Those times, he knows, are hard on the people who love him.

That impressed me, how he realized his illness is not just about him. There was an understanding in his heart that what was happening to him was also happening to his family, and he wanted them to get the care they needed too.

As I was remembering this conversation, I also remembered the light in his eyes when he talked about wanting those caring for him included in any prayers for him. It was love, unconditional love I saw in his face. His thoughts were as much about others as they were about himself.

In an instant, my holiday bah humbug disappeared, replaced with a deep sense of gratitude for my life, my health and for the people I love who love me in return. I am blessed on this Christmas Eve, Eve.

I closed my eyes and sent love and light to my friend, Jeffery. And, I whispered a thank you to him for reminding me that this season is about love and appreciating every precious moment life gives us to share love with each other.

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.