Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Repeat, Repeat, The Sounding Joy."

Some of you may have read this before. I feel the need to repost it.

         Give Christmas Away.

            Voices are ringing this year. They are at every pitch and every personality a voice can have. There are shouts, returned greetings, wishes followed by handshakes or hugs, all delivering the wishes of all the events and occasions that take place in this time at the start of the season of winter.

            Some of those voices have also been ringing with the dismay that the greeting of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced with “Happy Holidays.” A small town newspaper editor in the December 8, 2005 edition of his paper related, “We Americans are expected to respect the cultures, traditions, and practices of other nations and peoples, and rightfully so. But what about our culture, and our traditions, and our practices? “

            Who are “we?” Are “we” the Native Americans who inhabited this land before our Spanish and Anglo Saxon ancestors came here to explore? Are “we” the African Americans who were deposited here by descendants of “our” Anglo Saxon ancestors? Are “we” any of the immigrants who gazed upon the message held high by the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor?

            To feel that “we” are the ones being persecuted by not being made to feel comfortable in saying “Merry Christmas” is missing the entire foundation of the Christmas Holiday. If the observers of Christmas were to be true to the holiday, evergreens in houses would have to disappear (actually, some of “our” Puritan ancestors outlawed Christmas observances in the mid-1800’s in “our” country). The lights on “our” houses, the wrapping paper, the sending of Christmas cards were not part of the origin of Christmas. “We” have added all that.

            Maybe saying “Happy Holidays” does diminish the amount of times we get to say the word “Christmas.” Even the word, “Christmas” wasn’t used until several centuries after the event it commemorates. Its use came about from some of “our” ancestors trying to tie in the observance of the birth of Christ to existing festivals and holidays with origins in the Roman Empire. “Our” ancestors actually caused the existing observances of Saturnalia, Yule, and the flight of Oden to be diminished or eliminated by the evolution of the Christmas holiday.

            With all the compassion and joy that the Holidays observed in this time frame intend to generate, I will wish the appropriate greeting of “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukah,” or “Joyous Kwanza,” when I know what greeting is appropriate. If I am not sure, I will wish “Happy Holidays” with the same compassion and joy. I don’t worry that Christmas will be taken away from me if I don’t say “Merry Christmas.” I don’t think Christmas is mine or “ours” to keep. I think Christmas is to be given away. Maybe it’s time to bring everyone together again.

I think, one day we will get to see the creator of this world. I believe when we see the creator, we will see a form like we never could have imagined. We will ask, “How did you come up with that?” The reply will be, “You could have done the same. I gave you all the ingredients.”

May Peace, Joy, Grace and Love be in your life from now until you meet the creator of this world. Happy Holidays.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Annoying Though It May Be

The sign in the picture above hangs above the doorway from the foyer to the kitchen in my house. When you enter the front door, it is directly straight ahead in the line of vision.

The sign was a gift to me by a friend soon after the arrival of "the alien." The reason she gave it to me is because the expression was one of my standard responses about what was taking place at the time. The reality was that I couldn't go back in time and prevent the diagnosis from happening. I accepted the diagnosis and moved on. 

However, my acceptance did not mean that I accepted that the alien possessed me. 

On the night that I was admitted to the hospital, my defense mechanism kicked in. Not by choice. My defense mechanism was humor. It was in force enough to make the nurse who was attending me that evening ask, "Mr. Frazee, do you understand what your diagnosis is?" I replied, "Absolutely, but what can I do about it right now?"

I was not skilled enough to consciously switch on the humor switch that night, but it came on, and once it came on, it stayed on. I recently  made a presentation entitled, 'Effective Patient Communication. Truths and "Wished I Would Haves" From My Alien Adventure.' I shared stories of some of my silliness from that time and some of the ideas I came up with later that I wished I would have done.

What ultimately happened, once the doctors and nurses accepted me as I was, is that I became more approachable for them and they didn't necessarily have to take the deep breath before entering the exam room and worry about, "How do I tell him this?" Instead, I like to think that before they came into the exam room with me in it, they asked themselves, "What is he going to do today?"

Yes, it was what it was. But, it wasn't acceptance. 

Instead, I like to think it turned into this:

"Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence." - St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Next Last Time

The next time I use this piece of luggage, I will be able to say that the last time I used it was for a trip to Ocean Isle Beach, NC from October 21-25. To prove it was there, I took this picture from the balcony of my hotel room with the Atlantic Ocean in the background (a day or so before Hurricane Sandy started affecting the waves).

The last time I used this piece of luggage, prior to the trip to Ocean Isle Beach, was when I loaded it to maximum capacity for my stay at the L'Hotel BMT at MCV in July/August 2009. I didn't really need to use this bag for the trip to Ocean Isle, but I did anyway. All said and done, it was perfect to take along because of all the many storage features it contains and as a result, almost everything fit in it vs. taking multiple smaller pieces of luggage.

The last time I was at Ocean Isle was well before "the alien" came to visit. I had been hankering to go to the beach while I was receiving treatment for "the alien," but just never had the opportunity to get there. Ocean Isle Beach is one of my favorites as it is not so congested and fall is a perfect season to go. And, with a view like the one below (another picture taken from the balcony of my hotel room), how can you resist?

It was great to be there and great to complete another circle that needed to be closed. I've learned it is important to do that.

Didn't draw one in the sand, though.