Normally, I am full of all kinds of excitement myself this time of year. Seeing the lights around town, seeing people be a little extra nice and generous towards their fellow man, and children running around with that Christmas glow. There is magic in the air that just warms the heart.
This year though, I'm finding it harder and harder to get into the holiday spirit. This time of year I do a lot of looking back over the last year. As we get into a season of gratitude and thankful hearts, I find it important to know what it is I am grateful for. Well, there is much to be thankful for this Christmas, but it's the looking back part that is draining my spirit.
This has been a pretty tough year for our family. We have met and overcome many hurdles, dealt with circumstances we never would have dreamed of, and the whole while we have fought to keep this family a family that knows love, knows faith, and knows they can lean on each other.
Perhaps my draining spirit is the sense of self-hatred to a degree. Feelings I have knowing that I have been the cause of great sorrow this year. Some of it my fault, some of it out of my control. It's a hard feeling to shake sometimes.
I look at my wife. A hard working gal who does her best at being both breadwinner for our family, caregiver to the kids, and caregiver to an ailing husband. I think about the heart that I have taken for granted and shattered at times this last year. I think if I could take it all back, or take her hurt as mine, I would without a second thought. At the same time, I cannot be anymore grateful for her love, for her heart, for her dedication to me and to our family. Her love is pure and through, and for some reason, she still seems to save it all for me.
I look at my children. They have not seen the dad that they need to have seen this whole year. Now there is uncertainty as the battle against cancer moves forward. They know daddy is sick. They know where "daddy's hospital" is. But they have no clue why it is that I am not the active parent I was. I sense that confusion in them quite often. Still, I watch them light up with delight when they see me in the mornings. I hear their laughter and squeals as they play together the way only siblings could. Through the confusion, through the unknown, I can still see their pure hearts through their eyes, and feel their love in each hug and kiss.
So why is it so hard for me to find more Christmas cheer? Look at everything I really do have going for me in life.
I have been trying to dissect it all day and look at it from as many angles as I can. Is it the self-pity "I have cancer" thing working against me? I mean, it's kind of hard to not think about the fact it's there. That is impossible. But I really don't think that's it. Sure, having cancer and all that comes with it sucks. I mean, it really, REALLY sucks. However, I am John. I'm not cancer. And I won't let cancer forget that.
Maybe it is just the fatigue of everything coupled with preparing for the holidays? I have done no shopping, no gift wrapping, barely any gift planning. I did however hang a stocking or two and helped decorate the tree. It just seems like there hasn't been enough time to enjoy it like one should.
Maybe it is because Christmas New Year's are just clouded by medical appointments all around. It just dampens the parade all around.
Whatever the cause is, I will lie awake at night tonight and wish for some more Christmas cheer. Some more good vibes and a more joyous kick in my step. This time of year should feel magical.
And I would just like to embody a little more of it.