Sweetsorrow of Christmas

sweetsorrow

Sweetsorrow is an apt oxymoron for the Christmas season.Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the season – I decorate,prepare months in advance, I plan my gift list and so on but I never forget that for many people Christmas time is bittersweet.

This year, there are many examples or events that should remind us of the loss and pain being experienced by others around this time of year that should be filled with cheer and vibrancy.

The terrorists attacks in Paris; the shooting in California; the migrants drowning off the coast of Greece; the Wars in Syria,Iraq; the deaths from the Ebola virus outbreaks in Africa; the world suffered this year, with crisis after crisis.

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So many people lost parents,siblings, friends, relatives, neighbours and this will be their first Christmas without these loved ones.Let us, who have not met this kind of tragedy, reach out ( if only through our thoughts and prayers) to these people and sympathize with their bittersweet Christmas reflections.

Christmas, a period of remembrance and joy over the birth of Jesus our Saviour, is also a time of reflection and sacrifice which is symbolized by the myrrh, a gift brought by one of the wise men from the east. Life and death is a part of life even at Christmas and if we remember this, we learn to appreciate our lives and our loved ones even more.

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So to those for whom Christmas is such sweetsorrow I offer some words from a poem written by Thomas Hardy (Selected Poems):

“That I can hope

Health,love, friends,scope in full for thee;

can dream thou wilt find joys seldom yet attained by humankind!”

Have a Blessed Christmas!!!

Posted in Living, Optimism, religious, spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Advent

Are we ready for our Advent Season?

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Advent comes from the latin word meaning ‘coming’ and in the christian community it is a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus and our salvation.

Christmas is not simply getting and giving gifts but remembering the reason for the season – CHRIST. There is no Christmas without CHRIST despite the attempts of commercial entities to say XMAS.

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The symbolism of the manger where the baby was laid, the humble surroundings of a stable and the lack of riches of either Joseph and Mary are very important! So often we get blinded by the ‘Glitz and Glamour’of Christmas – new curtains, expensive jewelry,food in excess,new outfits, etc. that we miss the advent season and by extension the TRUE meaning of Christmas.

The three wise men followed a star (a light) to the place where Jesus lay; are you being a light this advent season? So many people in 2015 all over the world live in abject poverty with no hope of improving their lives or those of their offspring. What can you do to bring light into their lives? A neighbour next door that needs a hand cleaning around the house? A family that you know needs some toys for their kids this Christmas? Maybe you can be a secret santa and donate food, clothes and toys for needy families nearby.

Simple things can prepare us to welcome CHRIST during the Advent season, it doesn’t have to be exorbitant or flashy, just genuine. Advent is also not just for specific religions,rather all people can participate and become a beacon/light for someone else this season.

Let us not be carried away by crass consumerism and the ‘buy! buy!’ disease, rather let’s spread the ‘help others’ cheer this Advent and Christmas season. We can then understand that the manger and stable refers to the basics of living, the essentials- not the fluff and accessories that we do not need. The shepherd having no gift to bring but himself reminds us that PEOPLE are important not things.

Have a Blessed and Holy Advent and Christmas Season. 

Be a light to at least ONE person this season.advent

 

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CHANGE is INEVITABLE

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Change in life is the one constant variable we can all rely on. Can we manage these changes well? I am not ashamed to say that I don’t accept change well AT ALL. I hate change! I like routine, I like knowing what to expect and as I grow older this feeling has gotten even worse. The thing with change however, is that as much as I hate it,I have to come to the realization that I cannot stop change- it will come in my life regardless of my cold reception.

Change happens in Friendships. I have a friend that I once considered a sister to me, we were that close. Over a period of time, however, I realized that the friendship was one-sided (on my side only). I found myself doing all the work to upkeep the friendship and I got tired of that so the friendship underwent a gradual but drastic change. I started to call and visit less and though we have still maintained a friendship,it is not the all-consuming relationship we once had. Is that a bad thing? At the time I felt bereft but gradually I have come to accept that relationships in all forms change and mature. Newly married couples recall the passion and consuming need to be in each others presence constantly,but with time the ‘honeymoon phase’ passes and the couple settles down to a stable and calm period. Change is part of life and all relationships.

Change happens in Family Life. Marriages start well, filled with hope and promise then falter and sometimes result in divorce. Babies grow and evolve into their own individual personalities, leaving home to start their own families. Siblings once close and united against the world change into bitter rivals especially when there is an inheritance to divide (property/money). Death, loss, financial stress and tragedy are all aspects of change that are inevitable.

Change happens in the Workplace. I remember starting my job with so much vitality and eagerness to make a difference in the lives of everyone I met. I have not lost sight of my main objective which is to make a positive impact of every young person I meet and interact with but my vibrancy has been dimmed. Change occurred when faced with multiple obstacles of adults who were charged with great responsibility but “slacked on the job” and neglected their charges. My passion dimmed when faced with an administration that was more focused on money rather that the positive impact they could make by keeping up their standards, not bending it for a large cheque ior ‘donation’. My eagerness dimmed when faced a young generation burdened with issues they should not have to deal with at such a tender age; with fast-evolving technology that leaves them vulnerable to predators and making mistakes that they cannot erase/ delete from a website; and young people who walk around with a sense of entitlement mistakenly thinking  that  society owes them something and the world must conform to their standards at all times. So the change occurred and though NOT extinguished, my attitude and passion for my job has certainly dimmed. I hope to always keep sight of the objective I started with but Change is inevitable.

Change happens in the World around us. Technology is changing so fast that an Iphone bought today becomes obsolete by the endof the same year. Can we keep up? Should Change happen so quickly? A country once stable is now under seige in war;People once comfortable in their own country,on their own land are now risking life and limb to forge a new life on foreign soil as migrants; European nations once united (for the most part) on policy and currency are showing cracks in this united front and there is even talk of an impending referendum in England to decide whether to leave the EU entirely. The Prime Minister of Hungary is erecting a barrier to prevent migrants from entering his country because the ‘faces’ of Europe are changing to more darker ones. He like many others must accept that Change is dynamic- ever changing and that no place or person remains constant.

Change occurs in every aspect of our lives and with it comes a crucial decision that we must all make – accept and adjust to change OR resist and experience stress and unhappiness.  Which choice will you make?

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Paris in Springtime

paris spring3 Ahh! Paris in the Springtime! The flowers in bloom,the smell of freshly baked baguettes and croissants, the sound of birds returning to the city, freshly awakened from its cold slumber and the visitors who flock to the city to watch the exciting French Open at Roland Garros. Does that conjure a vivid picture of Paris in the season of Spring? Great!! because I have personally never been to Paris.

Instead all I have to go on is my imagination and a Dream. A dream of seeing this fabled place of beauty and culture in every season.I hold on to my IMAGINATION…… My dreams keep me from falling into the abyss of depression when reality appears dim amd dismal.

Imagination is a key part of Life.It drives us to work hard and achieve our numerous goals. When we become depressed and anxious, it refocuses our attention on the goals we have set for ourselves.

paris spring5  Setting goals are essential to living life better. Goals allow us to create a picture/image that keeps us ‘afloat’ when we start to sink into despair, debt and the challenges of life.

So one of my main goals that keep my head ‘afloat’ is the dream of visiting the country of France. I want to spend time in France and experience the four seasons and their effects on nature, people and their customs. I want to leave that unique place being able to speak manageable french (I’ve already started some classes) and enjoy a croissant while on a bateau cruising along the river Seine.

paris spring6 I want to walk along the sands of the Mont St.Michel Abbey and see the surrounding land disappear at high tide. There is so much to see and do in the wondrous place called France that I am overwhelmed.

And when I see another year has passed by and the debts are still mounting, my savings have dwindled even lower and my dreams are falling further from my grasp…….

All I have left is IMAGINATION……. One day I will actually be there in Paris at Springtime and be able to do all the activities that I dreamt about.

paris spring4  Au revoir mes amis!!!

Posted in Living, Optimism, Travel | Tagged , , , , ,

Broken Dreams

cropped-creuse.jpgWhere does the time go? The days are blending and blurring into weeks and months and life is passing me by. I try to live life to the fullest each day that I breathe the breath of life but my days are now consumed with work and its numerous responsibilities. Living this fast-paced existence is not really living the Dream, rather it’s just existing to pay bills!!

My heart’s desire is eluding me more and more as cost of living becomes higher and luxuries like travelling become  out of my reach.This leads me to re-evaluate my life and ask whether my job and its demands is worth it?tired  But the next question is how can I live without my job? I need to pay a rent, utilities, buy clothes and other necessities. I know that I am not alone in my dilemna and there are many people in the world making similar hard decisions that often steals our  joy. I admire the people who have chucked it all for a nomadic, carefree existence but I do not possess that kind of adventurous spirit; I need some measure of security in my life.

How to fix Broken Dreams? I don’t Know!!!

I am usually the voice of optimism but right now my dreams are cracking under the strain of capitalism and responsibilities and I am out of answers in regards to how to mend my Dreams. I am floundering and my optimism is at an all-time low. So I end this post on an unusual note (at least for me), saddened by my inability to make my travel dreams come true despite my long hours at work.

Broken Dreams …..

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