On Choosing Holiday Joy

As it is the Christmas season, I have been thinking of my mom. How could I not? She was Christmas to me; the spirit, the joy, the child-like wonder. Her lesson to me was indelible; no matter what life dishes out to you, celebrate. Life is short, and we can choose whether to complain or to be joyful. We are in control. I know what I choose. 

There will inevitably be reasons to complain- Life can be hard and unforgiving. Every single one of us has challenges. The grace comes in how we handle them. Though it may be easiest to surrender to those challenges, I’m going to fight it every step of the way for a couple of reasons. First of all, there is always always someone who has it worse than I do. Next, there is always a blessing in any situation. Always. 

When I start to complain, I think of my brother who has dealt with lung cancer, brain cancer, adrenal gland cancer, and prostate camcer over the last nine years. He chooses to stay hopeful and positive. He inspires those around him to stay strong in their own battles. I think of friends who are dealing with physical and emotional pain. I look at the news of the world and see what true suffering is. I have no right to complain- no matter what, I have experienced love and gifts that most people only dream of. 

I am a big believer that we write our own narrative. What we embrace, we become. If we see ourselves as the martyr, always suffering- that is what we will manifest. On the other hand, if we see the joy, the possibilities, we will live in hope and abundance, no matter our circumstances. I don’t want to hear people complain- it’s selfish knowing the horrors taking place around the world in places like Aleppo. I guarantee you our issues don’t compare by a long shot. 

We can choose joy. Every single time. The power is ours, to wallow in the challenges that are put in our path or to grow from their lessons. I don’t get it right every time, but I am doing my best to follow my mother’s example: gratitude and joy first….self-pity on the far back burner, low simmer. Being alive, experiencing life in all of its amazing permutations is a priceless gift. I never want to forget that, no matter what comes along. I sort of see life as a marriage contract – we’re together in sickness and in health, good times and bad times. All of it is precious. Until death do is part- and even then, I plan to go out with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart. 

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