Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Why We Aren't Quite Merrily Rejoicing This Third Week of Advent

I took this photo the year my good friend since
high school, who is a practicing Jew, wanted to get
photos of Christmas lights in Richmond.
We had a blast taking pics and identifying
the songs she knew a fraction of the lyrics for!
Lord, I need You to help us out.  The Scripture readings for Mass for the third Sunday of Advent are all about how we are to rejoice and be glad in all circumstances.  My husband and I are both struggling a lot with that right now.

I’ve been sick with an energy-zapping, congestion producing, sinus-filling, sore-throat-inducing upper respiratory virus, infection, plague, whatever for over a month now.  Each time I think I’m finally starting to get better, my body lets me know in no uncertain terms is the battle o’er.  Coughing fits in the middle of the night and trouble sleeping are my newest addition of symptoms. I’ve missed Sunday Mass, our Spiritual Direction class, the work Holiday Party, and several opportunities to spend time with friends and family. 

Kevin works in the sixth ring of retail hell (aka the Short Pump area) and has since last year at this crazy busy time.  Most days he comes home feeling very sore and/or barely able to move after walking 10+ miles around the store and moving heavy appliances such as TVs, refrigerators, and such off the truck, around the warehouse, and onto the sales floor.  On top of that, last week he began taking three courses a week for his drafting and design degree.  This means he’s in class three nights instead of only two, has homework for three courses, and this will be the case throughout the rest of the time it takes him to complete his 21-month program. 

My Godfather Richard Vivacqua (nicknamed Stitch by my dad) passed away on Tuesday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the beginning of the Year of Mercy.  The card I’d started writing to him is sitting unfinished on our coffee table reminding me of opportunities gone by.  He was my dad’s best friend since college, so his sickness and death have brought back memories of being there when my father was in hospice care and passed away.  They live in Buffalo, so my mom was the only one able to make it up there for the funeral Monday, December 14.   

Three of my Christ Renews His Parish Sisters have had surgery scheduled for December.  Friends of ours infant grandson has had a major surgery as well.  So far, all the reports have been good, but I’ve been feeling guilty for not being better about sending them cards, calling, and such.  I have kept all of them in prayer, though, as promised.   

Another good friend’s father is now in hospice care.  This has been quite a shock to our friend and his family.  I wish Kevin and I were able to be more present for them right now.

I was hoping to sell my Prints of Grace photo art cards at the Celebrate Virginia store at Regency Square Mall, but I haven’t heard back from the woman in charge of the displays who told me to give her a call and figure out a time I could meet with her.  (Incidentally, if you want to place an order or see a selection of cards available, please call, text, or e-mail me.) 

I’ve still got photo cards, framed pictures, gift bags, and stuff sitting out from the craft show I did in the beginning of November.  If I have the energy, I might organize those things and put them away so we can pull out our Christmas decorations.    

A dishwasher hasn’t magically appeared in our kitchen, 
so the dishes are stacked
on the counter with care
in hopes that someone
who’s not-quite-so-exhausted
will soon be there
perhaps a perky person
with some energy to spare.  

The closest washer and dryer is four floors down in the basement and requires several quarters.  The elevator only works a fraction of the time, so I do whatever I possibly can to avoid getting stuck in it.  Basically, I never ever get in the thing.  This means I schlep all of our laundry, groceries, and such up and down three or four flights of stairs. 

I know things could be far worse and certainly have been in the past.  I know we have a lot for whom and for which to be grateful, but the rejoicing part is a bit of a stretch at present. 

I had to laugh when Kevin suggested that maybe we should volunteer.  I reminded him that over the past couple months we’ve been hard-pressed to get the normal household chores and errands done, much less be well enough we can both make it to Mass on Saturday or Sunday, so adding anything else at this point would be rather ridiculous.    

I’m sure it hasn’t helped that our movie choices for this week have included two from The Hunger Games series.  Hardly cheerful holiday flicks.  

My Prayer for Returning to a Spirit of Rejoicing: Lord, there are so many who are struggling in body, mind, and spirit right now.  Please help us be tender and compassionate with them and ourselves as we face some tough challenges.  Keep us mindful that everyone we meet has some burden they are caring that we can't see and may never know is there in the same way that many people don't know even half of what we're going through.  Open our eyes to the joy that exists in and around us. Amen.   
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