This is the season of Christmas, Chanukah and the New Year, for celebrating the power of light over darkness. Every day is now moving inexorably closer toward the light. We count on it. We've heard it said many, many times, that light conquers darkness. One little matchstick is able to bring light to a pitch-dark room. At our darkest times and even in our brightest times we forget about light's ultimate power, and we give over this power to the easily accessible darkness. This is the season to truly celebrate and honor the Light.
My wife Wendy and I are now in Longmont, Colorado, about 15 miles northeast of Boulder. We are "celebrating" this holiday season with our entire family at the home of our dear daughter, Jennie, and our dear son-in-law, Louie. I put celebrating in quotes, which I'll explain as we go on. But I do want you to know, before your brain begins to get creative (dark, in this context) that this gathering has been the best holiday gathering ever!!! Everyone has been welcomed in. All of our wonderful children and grandchildren, two former wives, cousins, their children...the love never ends. Multiple faiths celebrated. At some point we had 25 of us enjoying the cozy woodstove, the hot tub, the workout room, walks around the nearby ponds, food, food, food, tearful, heartfelt conversations, prayers, candles and sweet gifts. And I'm positive there have been many miracles going on since our arrival. Truthfully, prior to our arrival.
Before you start thinking Burt's getting too gush-gushy, and lives in some fairyland (which I've unabashedly been known to do) please read on.
Two nights ago, yes, only two nights ago, I was in the Emergency Room at the Longmont Hospital and should have gone sooner. I had been coughing, was so weak and wobbly, and every muscle and bone in my body was on fire. Wendy and I arrived at the ER around 5pm. Over three hours later, I had had enough. "Let's go, Wendy, I can't do this anymore." She was stubborn and she also had the keys to our rental car. Not much later, a nurse came out and called my name, "Burt."
They put me in a gown, stuck a needle in my arm and began filling me up with water. Chest X-rays, a few blood tests, more tests, took my temperature and asked a lot of questions. I was exhausted. Dr. Hall had to wake me up when he came back into the room 20 minutes later. He truly admired my sleeping ability. I had a bad case of Influenza A with a103+ degree temperature. With my diagnosis clarified, they asked some procedural questions, unplugged me and said we could go home if we wanted. It was the best option. They were phenomenal health care folks. Every one of them. Down to earth. Connecting. Thorough. Answered every question. I know I wasn't, but it sure seemed like I was their only ER patient that evening.
This is three days later.
I am sitting in one of Jennie and Louie's bedrooms downstairs, typing this for you and am still weak and wobbly. A new low for me. More than half of the house is sick. Sore throats, coughing, achy bodies and high temperatures. Wendy moved out of our room when we returned from the hospital.
We are both wearing masks. No one else is. Sure, we're the parents but as most of you can relate, we're all adults now.
Here's one of the miracles. There has not been one argument the entire time we've all been together. Differences of opinion, obviously. Discipline to manage our tongues, for sure. But not a single clash. Thank you, Lord, and thank you everyone for learning how to bring peace into our home, especially when we're stressed out. This is maybe the best possible present we could have received, and each one of us has been both a giver and a receiver of this priceless holiday gift.
We are all recipients and creators of the ever-powerful light.
Thus, we must give endless appreciation as recipients, and ask for endless support as co-creators.
Happy Days to all.
- Burt Gershater is a therapist, leadership trainer, speaker and writer. He can be reached at [email protected]