The year 2020 has been one for the archives. And perhaps it would be best to seal it in a vault for good. Good riddance. Stink. Stank. Stunk.
This Christmas is part of the puzzle now too. In an effort to make me forget that I’m miles apart from my family (of course not including Rudy and Molly), Rudy has been bending over backwards and sideways to divert my attention. I didn’t realize I was outwardly displaying my inner sadness at missing my sister and my folks so much. I realize that many people are in the exact same situation but not by choice. perhaps that’s what is so sad.
We’ve done all the Christmassy things and I’m trying to buff up the efforts. But they are falling a bit short of expectations and just don’t fill the void. Covid has shrouded the magic of the holiday with a dark cloud.
The usual twinkling of lights and festive mood is wearing a mask. Hugging and kissing is verboten; it’s hard to do from six feet away. Celebration (Disney’s perfect town) was a somber place with less Christmas spirit and energy. People wandered aimlessly fearful of one another. The main attraction was Molly! People even asked to take her photo! I know she’s adorable in full fuzzy splendour, but in past years the buzz in Celebration has been carriage rides and skating (on fake ice) and snow falling (foam) and carollers all in a perfect village with every inch decorated with garlands and lights … we joke that all Hallmark movies are filmed there. It’s a perfect Christmas place. Until 2020.
We went to church. I’ve always wanted to attend a service with a rock band and high energy. So we found a service close to us for some holy roller inspiration. When we sat down (apart from others and with masks) the band instruments were sitting on the stage. As I had expected there is no ornate altar and fancy podium, it’s a stage like at a concert or school play. But when the program started it lacked the energy and inspiration that I envisioned. We sang carols and listened to scripture, but it wasn’t the message of hope and joy that we needed.
During the day Rudy laid out the plan for the afternoon and evening. I like a good game plan and Rudy was determined to bring some connections to our distant Christmas. So I addition to church we would have a grazing meal and call family and friends. In particular Rudy wanted to call a good friend who had moved away some years ago. We’d lost touch a bit and since I’m not on social media the connection was almost nil. Rudy insisted and persisted.
He called from his iPad using Facebook (he’s still a user) and there was no answer. I was ok with that. What would we talk about “face to face” after years? But Rudy was not dissuaded; he called her daughter. And she answered. Rudy thrusts his tablet in front of me and I say hi. She’s surprised and I explain the Christmas calling plan. Then she asks if I’ve talked to her mom? Did I know? I feel a knot starting in my gut. Then the bombshell: mom would rather tell you herself … she has cancer and had another chemo treatment today. As the words spill out, my friend is calling Rudy back. It’s a technological hurricane matching my swirling mind.
We switch devices and get my friend (and her husband) on the tablet. She’s wearing a toque. They both look tired. After a minute of “what a nice surprise “ etc. I ask about the elephant in the room. She tears up and explains that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Because of covid her initial testing and diagnosis was delayed. But now the treatment plan is chemo, surgery, radiation. The outlook is good. But the process sucks. We move on and talk about other things. Her husband goes on and on about a range of topics and I’m grateful since I feel like I’ve been knocked out by Mohammed Ali. I’m in shock and my friend is beat up by fate. We talk for almost an hour. Promises to connect in person in better times ….
I really feel like crying or screaming. But I know that would tip the scales into a really deep dark hole. That phone call took my low Christmas spirit into a slimy ditch. And then, like a thunderbolt of awakening, I realized that the phone call was, in-fact, divine intervention. I needed perspective and I got it in spades. Christmas wasn’t about glitzy lights and bling. It was being grateful for the blessings and joy in life. Good health. Good family. Goodness all around.
My intention will be to focus on the goodness.
Merry Christmas from us to you.