Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Season 2010

This year has passed in a blazing blur, and the frenzied activity of the holiday season serves as a symbol of what the entire year has been.
Working full time in the world of hospice is challenging enough, but at the end of the year, in the midst of the holiday season, the mysterious "they" have chosen to launch our new computer system. Long hours of sitting in an office, trying to learn the system and foresee any future bugs have conspired to make this feel like the holiday that never was.
I came home tonight to a house full of boys and the sounds of "bye bye miss american pie" blaring. The younger was sitting at the dining room table with 5 other testosterone laden lads, while the older was ensconced in front of the TV with his favorite girl. The evening was filled with music and TVs and teenage voices. Oh, how I wish I did not have to rise early this morning and go back to the world of hospice..... how I wish I could just be here and soak up every millisecond of that .

I feel it every year... this yearning for peace and simplicity. Every year it grows stronger, and as I age I wonder if I have missed out on truly living. I longed to stay awake last night, to view the lunar eclipse that was a once in a lifetime opportunity. "The heavens declare the glory of God" but while God was speaking, I was sleeping.... in order to get up early and get back to the urgent.

I felt the pull and woke last night, in the middle of the night, slipping to the window, but all I could see were the street lights shining.

I left the computer session yesterday at lunch time, running out to see a patient who's sister had called me in tears earlier that morning. There, the house was quiet... filled with grief to be sure, but filled with love. Sitting at the kitchen table in that quiet house, nothing else really mattered. The new charting system certainly did not matter. Checking all the boxes, dotting the i and crossing the t so to speak, were irrelevant. Nothing mattered there but the quiet glow on the lights of the tree and the person sitting on the edge of the bed.

I suppose that is why I cannot bring myself to leave the world of hospice. It is one of the few places in the world where what is important supercedes the urgent. I could not rush into that house and back out again. In that house, I was forced to slow down, to quiet my spirit, to enter in, to feel the love and the pain. To be a part, however small, to be for a few moments part of something so much bigger than myself.

I know that we must, when we leave here, go on to something else. My patients show me that all the time. Their eyes take on the thousand mile stare, they talk to people that we cannot see. They are attended to by someone who has chosen to set their own life aside and care for them, showing me a purity of love that is not visible in the day to day. Their journey demonstrates love.

We see it when a baby enters the world, and everything stops for a bit to revolve around new life. We see it when someone exits this life and moves to the next, and our whole world stops for a moment. Perhaps it was glimpsed in the heavens last night.

Paul said what I'm trying to say so much better than I... " And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the power, together with the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God"
Ephesians 3:18

That pretty much sums up what my wandering mind has been trying to get to.... so my prayer for each of us in this Christmas season is that we can slow down enough to glimpse, even for a moment how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God for us...

Blessed Christmas to each of you.....

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

peanut brittle

I'm learning to pick and choose this season... actually a lesson I have been working on for many years and will need to continue to work on for many more.
I an learning to slow down, to sit in the silence, to close my eyes and try to empty my mind before the day begins. I hope to be relaxed this season, to actually enjoy the things that we do as a family, to find some time to enjoy silent nights -plural- to find in the midst of the frantic holiday the peace that seems so elusive, not only this time of year, but all through the year
My boys are older, we are past the time of Santa I miss the wide eyed wonder and the pjs with feet. I miss those days and I confess freely to mourning them. Sometimes when I look at the men who surround me (noisily) at the dinner table I allow my mind to go back to the days of "hey mom look at this" - the newness, the freshness of life. i look forward to the days when little sticky fingers will occupy our dinners, when big eyes will once again stand awed by the trees... but right now, in this season of life, i am grateful to be able to treasure the silence..... to savor it.
The tree glows brightly in my living room right now.
The lights are out otherwise..
The aroma of peanut brittle hangs in the air, and I am filled with satisfaction, knowing that if nothing else gets done for the remainder of the year, our family and friends will have evidence that we love them and our thinking of them with our simple gift of peanut brittle.

It is so easy to make... I think I will share the recipe with you. Let's see if I know it by heart

get a glass measuring cup the kind that holds 4 cups.
put in it 1/2 cup of kayro syrup, a dash of salt, 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cup raw peanuts
microwave for 7-9 minutes
throw in a t of vanilla and a T of butter
microwave again for 3 minutes
put in 1 t of baking soda and watch in amazement as your beautiful peanut brittle turns a peuky green. Do not despair. Pour out onto parchment paper to cool for 15 minutes before breaking into pieces. Use caution when licking the spoon for the candy will be hot

Package in attractive tins or plain ole baggies and pass it out to anyone who might need a little Christmas cheer.

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