Monday, November 29, 2010
If This Were Your Last Christmas
Have you ever wondered if this were your last Christmas how you would spend it? Would you find hope and beauty in the time you had left? Would you be content in knowing you had loved and been loved? Would the time you were given to hold those you love dear be enough for them to remember you when December knocked on their doors the following year? In my life this is how I see each and every Christmas I share with my family and friends now.
You see for me December 2005 was the beginning of an adventure I never saw coming. Five years ago this very time of year I found a lump in my breast which would alter the rest of my life. I knew nothing of breast cancer or the path I was being navigated toward at the time. I did not know death was bidding for my company or that I was about to dive into a wrestling match with the Grim Reaper. I did not know my children, young and impressionable would have to face a journey of fear and worry alongside me. I had no clue the Grim would taunt them, whisper in their ears or stalk them throughout their childhood both day and night.
Yes I had known hardships before; I had faced off with the devil and found my way back home. I had dealt with chronic illness and financial woes before. I had even seen the Grim a time or two around the bend but I had never been in fist- da- cuffs with the Grim Reaper on a such a scale as this before!
Since my fateful December evening when the tiniest of lumps appeared on the radar screen my life has been a tale of both hope and desperation. I cannot say one does not come without the other because to find hope you must first have a need for her grace. In other words you must be desperate for her gift, for her burning light to chase the darkness away.
Do I find it ironic the longest night of the year, Winter Solstice, surfaces during the month of December? No I don’t! Seasons change, as do our lives. I know there is reason for everything in life just as I know when the Sun rises the following morning she will shed her light and warmth ultimately chasing the shadows of the night away. Why… because there is always hope, there is always a reason to hold on, to embrace the hardships knowing the sun will rise again! I know this personally because even through the longest, darkest nights I have faced during the last 5 years, I have always felt the sun shine warm upon my face again. I have never gone without love, without joy or without courage even if I have felt the night would never end.
It is now 2010 and I face each December with a grin because I am still here. I know the Grim still waits for me. I see her every morning as I pass by her with my cup of coffee in hand wearing her short black robe (she likes to show off her bony knees by the way), black leather boots and her shinny sickle. Most days she waves back at me with a frown and I just chuckle knowing today is not her day.
But let me make this very clear: I am not over confident in my bravery. I understand I am living on borrowed time. I do know one day she will come for me with her sickle and her chains to drag me away. I also know when this days comes I will be ready for her on my own terms not hers. She may have the satisfaction of cuffing me but she will not have the satisfaction of seeing me beg. When this day arrives, I will not be drug away. No when the papers have been drawn and signed I will go with a big smile on my face laughing all the way.
Until then I will live as if there is no tomorrow. I will hope and dream, I will live and laugh. I will love and I will dance. I will trust my God and keep my faith. I will not give in to the burden of what ifs. I will not allow myself to be down trodden by those who do not understand my faith or my courage. I will not fear the night even if this day was to be my last to behold. Do you want to know why? Well because I know the sun WILL reappear on the horizon for those I love.
So for today I am secure in this very happiness surrounding my life. I rejoice in the miracle of this season, the wonder, the grace and the beauty of December. I embrace the winter and all she offers, all she brings into my life because without winter there would be no spring.
In truth is this were indeed my last Christmas I could not ask for more than these very gifts before me. Yes, I would find sadness as I left my precious gifts of hope, faith and courage wrapped up in my love under the tree. I would shed tears of sorrow and reflect on all these memories I have been given but I would also return these memories of joy and laughter to my children, my husband and my family for their safe keeping.
Today… I am grateful I have been given 4 more Christmas’ with my family, with my husband and with my children. What about you my friend? What gifts do you have to give this year? Indeed what would you do if this were your last Christmas?