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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

It’s Christmas Day and “Mother Theresa,” as Mom Theresa Cavaleri is known, is struggling for her life in Intensive Care Unit.  A seemingly relentless infection has baffled the medical staff for a couple of weeks and has worn her down.

Her nickname is earned as she constantly thinks of others. Even when being awakened in this horribly weakened state, she still says, “Have a seat,” “Thank you,” or “Hi, Bob” before drifting back into a coma-like existence. For seven years, I witnessed, as did the staff at the nursing home, her daily vigils to the chair-side, bedside and table-side of her late husband. She ended up helping a lot of other residents as well. She’s like the prayers that went up for George Bailey in “It’s A Wonderful Life” where the intercessor told God, “He never thinks of himself.”

I can’t say I’m praying for her when I ask for her life to be spared. She and The Lord are two of a kind. If He wishes, He has every right to take her home and she has every right to be with Him. It’s for all of us around her that I beg God not to take her just yet. We need her. I know some of you understand how critical these givers are on the scale of life. You probably have some in your life. So, if you can relate to this plea, I ask you to pray for just a few more years of her Christian witness for the rest of us.

Before Mom got ill, I had a lot of ideas of which presents I wanted to get people and how I wanted to spend Christmas. Now, all I want for Christmas is Mom’s life.

BELOW: ONLY SHE COULD PULL THIS OFF. GOOD-NATURED TEATOTALER MOM KIDDING AROUND AT A RECENT FUND-RAISER FOR HER SON’S H.U.G.S. (HATS, UMBRELLAS, GLOVES, SCARVES) CHARITY. ALWAYS MAKING US LAUGH.

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(This blog may also be read on our new site, belovedblogger.com)

I don’t think any of us like the idea of looking at the holidays as the time of year when we must make a determined, arduous and often, communal, trip up “The Christmas Mountain.” However, this resolve may be the best gift we can give one another.

I just received an email from a good friend who understated that her Christmas was “dampened” by her brother’s death on Christmas eve.

I had often heard that “death comes in threes.” This season, it has come in waves. I know that my own aging has something to do with that and I will see more and more familiar obituaries as I progress toward my own.

A phone call just brought news that my trusted friend had been reunited after sixteen years with his sibling who resides in the same city. While that was a cheery Christmas story, the climb spanned two decades.

My own stepfamily situation brings on some notable roller coaster feelings and I was never good on those rides whether real or in the emotional sense.

Even the weather brought my psyche up and down. We had the most beautiful snowstorm just a week before Christmas only to find out it was going to skyrocket into the 60’s with showers. Needless to say, our snowman family was diminished in a too-realistic metaphor. (See photo below.)

I sit in front of the best Christmas tree I’ve ever had. The ornaments climb up to the angel and they all have stories to tell such as “Baby’s First Christmas” or the one that used to hang on my parent’s tree when I was a young boy or the beauties that shouldn’t, but do, bring up some harder memories. I put them up anyway. They are a microcosm of my life which has certainly seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

My friend came to the conclusion that Christmas is really a painful season from which we pull out joy. I countered with suggesting that we create needy-and-noble-but-unrealistic expectations and then wonder why the anguish hits us like our heating bill.

Whatever the true explanation for this seasonal paradox, the best that I can offer at this point is that the holidays are like a mountain we must climb. No road crew is going to go ahead and pave the path. It requires an almost dogged effort to hike the steep and challenging stages of relationships and the mourning of relationships-gone-by, pass through the thickets of financial and physical setbacks, turn our flashlights on the fear of time walking too fast in front of us in the dark and focus our binoculars squarely on the illusions of our Hallmark-movie endings. Maybe that’s why this whole regiment is tagged “getting into” the spirit.

I made the climb this Christmas. It was worth it. Mountains were made high for a reason. As I sit in front of my tree and look up, I can see from the angel’s vantage point that the view is from the top. I don’t have wings. But I have feet.

[Perhaps everything is going right for you and this all seems a bit melodramatic. Please be aware that you may be on one of the flatter, easier parts of the mountain right now. If that is the case, use your time-of-ease wisely and compassionately to lighten the load of some other pilgrim. You may be surprised at the weight they are carrying if they take you up on your offer. They may even need a place to bed down and you don’t ever want to be known as the guy who didn’t let them “inn.”]

SHE CLIMBED THE MOUNTAIN: MY MOTHER-IN-LAW, “MOTHER THERESA” AT THE RESCUE MISSION ON CHRISTMAS DAY, EVEN AS SHE FACED HER FIRST HOLIDAY WITHOUT HER BELOVED HUSBAND OF SIX DECADES.

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WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY:

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BUT BY CHRISTMAS EVE, “HONEY I SHRUNK THE…”:

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THE ANGEL’S VIEW IS FROM THE TOP,BUT GETTING THERE TAKES SOME FEET AND FLIGHT:

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NEVER PICTURE-PERFECT, BUT SOME GOOD-LOOKIN’ “SPLENDID BLENDEDS:”

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Heal My Christmas Broken Heart

© 2013, No Reputation Communications, LLC  •  Words & Music by Robert J. LaCosta

Christmas shouldn’t be the time when eulogies are fresh in mind

and troubled souls are all around me like presents surround the tree

PRE-CHORUS:

Even over the passion of the carols we sing, sometimes we can’t drown out so much suffering

CHORUS:

Heal my Christmas broken heart, that’s what I want this year

How do you dry the eyes  from the weight of these cares?

Could the manger Baby’s wails clue us in that He feels

the pain behind all these Christmas tears?

Christmas shouldn’t be the time when old hurts are mined

And loneliness knocks down our wreath reminding us what’s beneath

BRIDGE:

Our anguish helps us hear The Baby’s cries

That’s how we learn how heaven harmonizes

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