The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, if we are to follow the messages bombarding us from television commercials, festive songs, and colorful decorations.
But for many people, the holidays bring out a lot of things that are not right in our lives.
It could be the recent loss of a loved one, or the lack of finances to buy gifts that you want to get for people, or struggles with your personal belief systems, conditions such as depression or anxiety, and in my case, chronic illness.
As I’ve been pretty sick and spend a lot of time doing my respiratory Vest treatments, I end up watching a lot of television because the shaking from my vest machine makes it difficult to read or write or do anything else that requires a steady hand or steady eyes.
And I kept thinking that I still hadn’t found a gift for my husband that would give him that “WOW! this is amazing” moment that we see happen in commercials and movies and television and advertising. It’s a pretty seductive desire, the feeling of making someone so happy by simply opening a brightly wrapped box.
But that almost never happens in real life, does it?
And before allowing myself to feel like a failure, I realized how much commercialism has conditioned me to think that in order to be a good wife or sister or aunt or daughter, I have to create these moments.
But the magic doesn’t come in a box. The magic comes from our hearts’ desires to make someone happy. How many times have you made someone’s day just because they called you or texted you? How something as simple as someone opening a door for you, can make you feel that there are good people in this world who care about others with no expectation of getting anything in return?
As I have been sick constantly since August, I had to tame down any of those conditioned expectations that I was going to make someone’s world with a simple gift that I had wrapped in pretty paper and a colored bow.
I realized that the magic that I can provide is to be able to participate in our family Christmas celebration. There have been some holidays I spent in the hospital. There’ve been some holidays when I was too sick to travel. And more lately, there are holidays when I have to save up all my energy for a week to just go “out” for two hours.
But in those two hours, I soak up every smile, every laugh, every moment that I can. Because even if I can’t last more than a few hours, the magic is in connecting with those we love.
So whatever you have to celebrate during this time of year, remember that the biggest gift that you could give someone is a piece of your heart.