Struggling to Find the Light

I’ve always struggled in the winter. Not only does the cold slow me down, but the shorter, darker days leave me depressed and unmotivated. I’m normally a health nut, eating right and exercising every day, but this time of year, I indulge in cookies and donuts and am lucky if I hit 5,000 steps on my Fitbit Alta HR. The farm chores seem harder and less rewarding.
To add to the depression, I’m put off by the obligations of parties and gift exchanges that have so very little to do with the season of Advent. I enjoy the quiet contemplation that fits so well with Advent, but I live in a world that calls people to shop until they drop and to attend one party after another.  Instead of preparing the way for the Lord, the world around me consumes and consumes and consumes some more.
For me, Christmas existed to remind me of how much I wasn’t like others. As a kid, I hated opening box after box of things I didn’t really want, pretending to love each one.  As a mother, I hated the ridicule I received because I taught my daughter the stories of Saint Nicolas rather than following along with American traditions of Santa Claus. As a Christian, I resent being told to celebrate the season when it isn’t here yet and being expected to prep for the next holiday when for me it’s still Christmas. Continue reading

Serving Others

There’s a reason all good spirituality includes service to others. There’s a reason 12 step programs evolve into serving others. There’s a reason my Baptismal Covenant requires me to “seek and serve Christ in all persons.” Service to others is a key to being happy and spiritually fulfilled regardless of your circumstances.
Life has been hard the last two and a half years. There are days when I just don’t want to get out of bed. I’m tired of this renovation, and I’m tired of living out of boxes. I miss just spending time with my husband not because we’re too exhausted to do anything else but because we want to. I miss waking up to just a plain old day.
This renovation has been straight out of the movie The Money Pit. It has sucked our savings dry and sucked up every spare minute of our lives with no end in sight. We’re exhausted, and we’re frustrated. Every time we think the end is over the horizon, we uncover another mess that pushes out our goals another month… or two or three. Continue reading