Having Thanksgiving at the end of November really does put a kink into things. On the one hand, aren’t we supposed to be planning December since IT STARTS NEXT WEEK? But on the other, what about the Turkey? and lazy, and food, and football, and raking/jumping into leaves, and food, and family/friends, and food and hanging out? But December IS HERE and I don’t want to get behind, or be rushed, or forget something (eek!) The walls start to feel like they’re closing in (am I the only one?!) and even I begin to make lists. And in the making of lists I start to think about all the things that NEED TO BE ON A LIST. Then I see the list and think how ridiculous it is – because I’m laid back and have never been friends with lists. In fact, I’m a terrible list maker. I write the stuff down, usually on a scrap of paper that resembles a Chic-Fil-A receipt
In a few short weeks (they seem to be getting shorter and shorter – which makes me sad since all I want these weeks to do is linger), Christmas songs will be filling the airwaves. In the malls, on the radio, at school recitals, through churches across the globe, songs about peace and hope will be sung. Peace, hope and joy. It seems we could all use a nice jolt of each right about now. Joy, the subject of one such beloved song [Joy to the World, by the 20th century the most published hymn in North America], is such an interesting word. It alludes to a concept more deeply rooted than happiness. In fact happiness is often used to describe joy – as does delight and bliss. It originates from the Latin word gaudēre: to rejoice. It’s hard to think about joy today – especially amidst all of the turmoil, sadness, confusion, and anger filling social
Last year I had the unfortunate opportunity to meet face-to-face a not so fun diagnosis of Shingles. But, with all that is going on with my friends and their much more life-altering diagnoses, I really didn’t care much about it. Still, for anyone going through Shingles or who knows someone that has it – YUCK. It’s painful – and can actually be friendly enough to hang around for a longer haul. Which mine decided to do. I have residual nerve damage from it. The bad news – I can’t exercise the same way I’ve done through the years. The good news – nerves can regenerate, AND we live in a day and age where there are LOTS of ways to exercise. For me – it’s swimming. And the blessing, that came with my unexpected change-up, has been multi-dimensional and filled with so much goodness.
Don’t panic. Even though the words, “Can we get together next week? The Friday before Thanksgiving?” might have been spoken today [What?! Friday before Thanksgiving?! Next week!! EEEK!], there’s still time. Breathe. Truth be told, in most other years, Thanksgiving would be next week. But this year, the holiday falls the last week of November. Which means December begins just about the time we finish leftovers from all the terrific cooking and eating and sleeping and eating. Breathe. Seriously, remind me to not beg tomorrow’s problems for today. It makes today go by too fast. Rather than give into any pressures to feel stressed over what can seem like a time crunch, maybe it’s time to practice one of the simplest, yet challenging, but most powerful strategies to get our thoughts to land: gratitude. Did you know that: