Saturday, December 4, 2010

Second Sunday of Advent

Advent is a time of waiting. I remember as a child making count-down calendars for the month before Christmas. I'd hang them beside my bed and would make big X's at the end of every day. What a delicious waiting time that was! The anticipation of the big day was almost (but not quite) as much fun as waking up early on Christmas morning and jumping out of bed to find our gifts by the tree.

As I've grown older, waiting doesn't seem to hold the same joy for me as it did as a child. Whether I'm waiting in line or waiting in traffic, more often than not, it's a time of frustration and discouragement. Even waiting for Christmas, I must admit, with all the attendant advertisements, shopping and busyness is, for me, more a sense of waiting for it to be over so that life can get back to "normal".

This December 7th marks the one-year anniversary of my husband's accident which subsequently resulted in nerve damage in his right arm and inability to use his right hand. He has been off work during this past year which has meant a major adjustment in our lives and our finances. In spite of nerve-graft surgery which he underwent in July, there is still no visible healing. In January he will have a second nerve study done to determine more accurately if the nerve has started to heal and if so, how much use of his right hand he can eventually hope for. We know already that it will never be totally healed.

In the first weeks after the accident all I could think of was wanting this period of waiting to be over, for his arm to get better, for him to go back to work, and for life to return to "normal". I'm so thankful that I didn't know then that a year later, we'd still be waiting. And I'm thankful for what I've learned (and am still learning) through this experience.

I've learned that life can change in a moment. I've learned that our lives will never return to what they were before the accident and that I can live with this. Though I still struggle with occasional times of frustration and discouragement, I'm thankful that these times are moments now, not hours or days, and that even the moments are becoming fewer and farther between. I'm slowly learning to not go into the dark places in my mind, to dwell on the "what-if's", and to keep wishing for life to get "better". I'm learning that I can't change the past and I can't predict the future, all I can do is to focus on the moment I'm in now. So while in one sense I am still waiting (and hoping) for my husband's eventual healing and resumed employment, that outcome is no longer my constant focus or what determines my state of mind. In this moment, today, I can choose to look around me and to be thankful.

Christmas 2009


  1. What a wonderful summary of your year and a wonderful way to look at things. I too find that living today is all that matters, and enjoying each moment as it comes.


  2. Hello Cheryl, I feel so sorry for Ben. Let's hope that he recovers use of his arm, but things will never be unfortunately like before ; as you know, I experienced it..
    I wish you both a very nice Christmas time in your so well decorated home - Appreciate these moments of quiet happiness, and please go on sharing with us your designs and creations. Martine

  3. Merry Christmas Cheryl and Ben! Thanks for sharing these reflections on the past year. I appreciated the encouragement to be thankful within one's present circumstances. I know that is an important part of a "good life" for me as well. May the New Year hold many "good things" for you both.