It’s December and it’s the holiday season but it does not feel particularly festive right now with all convos laced with Pandemic fears. However, there is hope and there are miracles to focus on.
This is the season of miracle stories; Chanukah, Diwali and Christmas. This season our faith, hope, kindness and patience is being called upon to give us the runway to believe things will be better soon. This is the time of real time miracles and faith and I’m all in.
Let’s face it, we have all been tested in 2020. Many of us have not seen our children or grand children this year or visits have been sparse. Some of us have been unable to help our loved ones in need.
I think about how we will tell our grandchildren what it was like to live through the Great Pandemic. What it was like to not be able to visit or hug each other, where technology was our primary means to communicate and in person visits were risky. I think about how this period in our lives will be studied and analyzed and each of our interpretations will become our living stories that will be passed on like the stories we listened to our parents and grandparents tell.
When my boys became teenagers, I remember thinking, if they had been born in another era, that of my grandparents, they would have been at risk of being sent off to war. I thought about how lucky I was to raise kids after the Vietnam war, or after World War II.
Until I had my own kids, I could never truly understand how heartbreaking it was for our grandparents to wave goodbye to my father-in-law Bernie as he drove off to who knows where. Turns out he got on the wrong boat and ended up in China with the Flying Tigers and General Chenault. He loved to tell his war stories which were exciting and fun to hear, but for his parents… what was it like for them wondering if they would ever see him again? The unknowing, the waiting time, being glued to their radios, praying that one day the nightmare would be over, that he would come home alive and they would be a family again.
We are living in our own kind of wartime survival mode. The struggles of so many are mounting. Listening to the news, admittedly perhaps too often, we hear about life beyond our homes, outside the comfort of our bubbles. It is hard to conceive of the number of hungry in our own country, the struggles of homelessness and the increase in unattended mental health issues but they are rising in numbers. We would have to be numb to not notice the restaurants and small businesses closing in our own neighborhoods. It is hard to conceive as the temperatures drop, how workers and their families will survive through these next 6 months?
For those of us lucky enough to have funds and our health and know that our family is well, we are so so blessed. For those of us lucky enough to have a solid internet connection to facetime a loved one, and for those of us lucky enough to have a partner to share this time with so we are not alone, we are beyond blessed.
But collectively, we are all in a counting game. How long til we get the vaccine? How long before we can go back to our lives? How long before we can hug our children or share a meal together?
At Christmas time, my family’s favorite movie tradition is to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra’s 1946 classic. But I decided to watch it this weekend because it’s message and spirit was just what I needed to feel. The message that each of our lives matter and we play a pivotal role in the fabric of our family, friendships and communities. This must never be forgotten no matter how isolated and hard this time is. And that’s where this Frank Capra movie is so relevant today.
“The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George how he, George, has touched the lives of others and how different life would be for his wife Mary and his community of Bedford Falls if he had not been born.”
Just like in Frank Capra’s story, It’s A Wonderful Life, Clarence , the angel is near with a message of how important each one of us is in the world and that we matter to our loved ones and communities.
My TV is talking Vaccines, it’s talking hope. There is a light at the end of this darkness.
There are only a few more days left this month which will get darker before we shift to longer days. The Winter Solstice on Dec. 21, (the darkest day of the year) marks the shift in light for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. As the days begin to get lighter we will welcome in the hope in each and every moment of light, like George in the film, knowing that every day we are here is a miracle.
Wishing you a healthy and healing and loving holiday season.