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Monday, December 25, 2006

What Really Matters

Christmas is such a special time - families getting together, giving gifts, watching the kids' wide eyes when they realize Santa has been by. Not to mention the true meaning of the season - the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But sometimes things just don't feel so "merry".

This has been a difficult Christmas. My mother in law is now in a nursing home. Despite all our hopes that this would be a short-term rehab stay, she has progressively declined. Now we're just trying to decide when to sell her house. This is the first Christmas without my mother in law's fabulous turkey and dressing and her high caloric blueberry/cream cheese pie.

My maternal grandmother had emergency surgery Friday. She had surgery approx 3 months ago for a ruptured diverticulum in her colon and had a temporary colostomy. Two weeks ago, they did a reversal of her colostomy. Now she is septic (infection in her blood), with "dead" colon and pneumonia. The surgeon has now removed most of her colon and she has a permanent colostomy. She is so confused that the ICU nurses had to restrain her hands to keep her from pulling out the myriad of tubes in her body. Meanwhile my grandfather who suffers from advanced alzheimers is alternating staying with my mom and my uncle.

As if both of the above wasn't enough for me to ride the pity carousel today, I have strep throat and a massive earache. The treadmill my husband bought me for Christmas (which I asked for) came without the safety key so it doesn't work. My son could not fly home for Christmas - he is now in Houston working for Booz Allen Hamilton designing the interior of the new space station from a human factors perspective. This is the first Christmas is his 25 years of life that I have not woke up with him in the house on Christmas morning. Factor in a monstrous screaming match with my hubby on Christmas Eve over literally nothing but just overloaded stress and the holiday just seemed to suck.

But then I turned on the TV and saw clips of our soldiers celebrating Christmas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite being in the middle of a war zone, these brave heroes were laughing and singing. Some were even dressed like elves and Santa. Then there was a clip of Christians living in Iraq defying all odds and risking violence to attend Christmas church services.

These people remembered the true reason for Christmas. They did not let their own difficult situation color their celebration . They were able to set aside all of the external disruptions and simply enjoy the reason for the season. All of my "issues" pale in comparison yet I let my self-pity get the best of me.

Sure there are sad and upsetting events in my life but geez louise I'm griping about not being able to use my treadmill and my sore throat. I have my son, not in my house, but as close as a phone call. I have so much to be grateful for yet I let trivial matters overtake me. How typical of us spoiled Americans... If it's not big enough or perfect enough, it's not quick enough. I have an idea of what one of my New Years' resolutions is going to be...

Merry Christmas to all especially our soldiers and Christians risking persecution to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

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