This is going to be a very short entry…
Like many of you, I’m pooped. This is always a busy season. Between work responsibilities (heading out tonight for a rehearsal!), mommy responsibilities (went to two school concerts and a debate meet over the weekend!), life responsibilities (the garage door is fixed!), and general worries, stresses, and plans that are taxing me and my husband, I’m ready for a vacation.
Trying to “fit in Chanukah” during this time can be an additional stress. Since Chanukah nearly never falls when my kids are out of school and I am on a break from my work, we have to somehow find a time to light the candles between all of those other life responsibilities that are not going to stop just because it’s Chanukah. At a time when we yearn for the opportunity to sit around the fireplace, watch the candles burn, give each other gifts and consider the “miracles” of our lives, instead we are tearing through the tradition at lightening speed on our ways to other things.
Sound familiar? If it does, do you feel guilty? I know I do. But let’s stop. Let’s try to not to judge ourselves. Let’s forgive ourselves. Let’s forgive ourselves for not making latkes from scratch, or remembering to get soufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), or having the presents wrapped, or forgetting where we stored our menorahs, or for always getting wrong which direction the candles go. Let’s not let Chanukah add to the weight on our shoulders. Let’s put down our bags and just do our best.
Okay, as I write this, I am getting ready to light candles for this second night of Chanukah, which we will do a little early before I have to go to work. It isn’t convenient, but beyond the desire to keep this tradition because it’s tradition, I need a few minutes to put the rest of the world away. Even if it is for only 5 minutes, maybe I can really look into the gorgeous flames of those candles and lose myself in the miracle of their existence. Maybe I can breathe in the warmth and remember to take that goodness with me on my way. Maybe I can remember that many of my worries are not so gigantic when I consider the battles others have had to fight in history and still fight today. Maybe I can say the blessings and remember that awe is at their core, and allow myself to experience a tiny sliver of that awe. Maybe I can enjoy this quick moment with those I love, even if our relationships aren’t perfect. Do you think I can? I’m not sure, but I’m going to go give it a try. Will you?
Oh, and while we’re at it, when we see all those images of people celebrating winter holidays while surrounded by family and friends, enveloped in love and support, enjoying this season together, being just so darned, impossibly happy, let’s not let that stress us out either. If that isn’t how our holiday season goes, so be it. I promise you, we aren’t the only ones. 😉
I wish you all a Happy Chanukah (or whatever holiday you observe). Let’s be kind to those around us this winter season, but let’s also not forget to be kind to ourselves… even if we drop the entire batch of latkes on the floor right before dinner. Maybe with all of that extra energy we don’t spend judging and stressing and worrying, we can do a little more to make this world a step closer toward perfection.
B’shalom (with peace)
P.S. By the way, I am writing this because I feel guilty, not because I’m so above it all. 🙂