So far this year I’m enjoying fun Christmas activities that I missed for several years.
My mom and I actually got a real tree! We ended up decorating it twice because after about ten days it fell down. So we had to start over and decorate it again (with more lights and candy canes this time). =) I’ve had fun wrapping presents while mom had fun putting decorations around the house. We’re planning to attend a Christmas concert this week, and mom even baked cinnamon rolls. =)
These are simple things, yet it’s a huge deal that I’m able to participate in them once again! I’m so grateful and I praise God for all the healing He has brought, especially this year!
I think these little things mean more to me because of all the years of missing them. And I don’t want to forget how far God has brought me. I found an old post from a time when Christmas was anything but fun. I thought I’d re-post it today. I pray it offers encouragement for those of you who are still living with limiting health challenges and hope to remember that God can carry you from where you are today to a better place in the future!
Even in the midst of the fun activities, the thing that still means the most to me about Christmas is this simple truth – Jesus came as Immanuel, God with us. He never leaves us. In the fun or in the pain, He is here. Hallelujah!
Yesterday was Christmas day 2009 – and I had a really bad day. I felt even worse than usual. I got sick every time my mom came in the room with me. (We think I was reacting to a herb she’s been taking. Go figure.) I had a “Christmas dinner” of turkey and peas (mixed with a few tears). It didn’t settle in my stomach very well.
I was reminded once again that for people with Environmental Illness, there are no holidays.
Most people look forward to the holidays as a break from their normal routine, time to be with family & friends, maybe doing special things like caroling, playing games, etc. Well, with E.I. there is no break from the ‘normal routine’ of being sick. This disease (like most diseases) never takes a day off. Being with family and friends is usually not an option unless they “de-fragrance” themselves radically (which isn’t easy to do, let me tell you). And special activities take more energy than we, as E.I’s usually have.
I’d like to say that after 5 years of this, I’m used to it and it doesn’t bother me. But that wouldn’t be true. I miss all the ‘normal’ Christmas activities, traditions, and fellowship. For some reason, the holidays are a like a slap in the face for someone with E.I. It’s just another reminder that life as it used to be is gone, at least for now. If we’re not careful, it’s easy to start dreading holidays, simply because they remind of us all we’ve lost, all we miss.
Well, I imagine you’re good and depressed for me now. =) I just wanted to share the reality of what it’s like.
On the bright side, even during the difficult holidays, God’s kindness is unfailing. (Ps. 18:50) In the middle of my very bad day yesterday, God sent me a Christmas text message from a friend, a cheering-up phone call from a friend with E.I., and a mom whose smile never ceases to brighten my day.
I think I’m learning that the secret to managing the holidays for those of us with E.I. (in addition to changing my expectations), is to focus on celebrating them in my heart, with or without all the wonderful things that usually accompany them.
If you know someone with E.I., remember that something as small as a text message, email or phone call, could make a big difference in helping them see God’s kindness instead of focusing on all they’re missing.
And may we all learn to be thankful every day that Jesus came to earth as Immanuel – God WITH us!