I was emailing a friend the other day, telling her we are the lucky ones. Her mother is in the final stages of lung cancer. My father is pushing Stage 5 of Alzheimer’s. Her mother won’t be here next year. My father may be here, physically, but, mentally, this is his last Christmas.
We are blessed!
I don’t mind admitting that this is, in many ways, my worst Christmas ever, or I thought it would be. This is the first year I’ve not put up a tree. The only gifts I am giving are those I make. I can’t even afford to buy anything beyond the fabric I’m using to make a shawl for my mother. I don’t have anything for my father. I don’t know if it will make much of a difference. I need to find something for him to open. He’s in late Stage 4 of Alzheimer’s so it’s for the moment only. I think I have a couple cowboy books I can give him.
It didn’t start out this way, but people don’t mine lying, stealing, and cheating. There are no rules that govern brokers, unless you can prove they stole nearly a million bucks. My father, missing his money, gave the very man who was involved in the theft all of his financial records to help look for everything. So, there’s not much hope. If I sound bitter, I am.
Then again, something interesting has happened on the way to not being able to buy Christmas gifts. I’ve discovered a hidden talent! Not only is it a hidden talent, but I’m shocked that I have this talent. I’ve started making shawls. I’m still working on the one I’m giving my mother. I’ve put about 25 hours into it, and have a good 12 or so to go to complete it. She’ll get it, unfinished, and I’ll take it home to finish.
I don’t mind admitting that I like designer things. The cotton cashmere shawl I’ve created for my mother would go for well over a thousand at Nieman’s. I ought to know. I keep pricing them, year after year, but can’t afford that much. Yes – it looks that good. I always thought I’d be ashamed of giving something ‘hand made’ but darn if what I’ve made isn’t good enough to give as a gift!
- ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
- ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
- ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
- ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
- ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
- ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
- ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The beautiful part of having just about everything taken from you is that you get back to the basics. If my parents had not been pushed into the impoverished corner where they now are, I would still be blindly worshiping Rush Limbaugh and the far right. I would not have paid attention to the Brothers Koch and how they are destroying this nation. Even more importantly, I would not have stopped to read the book of Matthew, and realized what a Christian must do to truly follow Christ.
I would not care to relive the three year hell I’ve lived, but I wouldn’t take anything in the world for it. The other night, I was in extreme pain, and would have gone to the emergency room had I not lost my heath insurance a few months ago. Now I know the disparate horror others feel. I know the humiliation of having your credit card declined at the store, with friends and people you know surrounding you. I know what it is like to live on about twenty bucks a week for food. I know what it is like to be required to be forced to not be able to purchase all the medication your parents need.
I’ve learned what compassion truly is. I guess that’s why I think Pope Francis is so wonderful. People say I’ve changed, politically. Yes, I have. I can no longer ever support the conservative message or cause. I now know in my heart and soul that it is wrong, immoral, and contrary to the teachings of Christ.
My sister and I are blessed. For the past 3 years we’ve known we only have a finite amount of time with our father. This is the last Christmas we have him, mentally. We know what is coming. We are blessed to know that it is coming, so that we can enjoy every moment of it.
The Lord is Merciful, indeed.
Thank you, Lord!