Last week I wrote a post about enduring the festivities, gift buying, food and cheer during a holiday season when you’re struggling with chronically difficult health. But before I’d finished that piece, I had one of those flash of light moments when I experienced a different message to share.
I’m not much for rituals but every year, during the 8 days of Chanukah, I make potato latkes (potato pancakes) for family and friends. (I love this recipe at SmittenKitchen.com). It’s a time consuming juggling act, placing small spoonfuls of batter in oil hot enough to cook fully without burning. Though there are those who love their latkes burnt, I’m not one of them. It’s a major production that I’ve never wanted to give up, no matter how limp my body is. But inevitably by the frying stage, fatigue overwhelms me and reluctantly, I hand the spatula to my husband to take over.
So what about the light? For the past 4 months, I’ve had the longest stretch of good health in 5 years and it’s allowed me to get progressively stronger. I didn’t know how strong, though, until this past Sunday, the 6th night. I knew my husband wanted to watch the football game rather than cook. So setting up to fry, I told him, “No problem, I got this.” When I took the last pancake out of the pan, a big smile spread over my face. I had just noticed what I’d done. In all the years I could remember, I couldn’t think of a time that I’d made Chanukah latkes. from start to finish, on my own.
I hadn’t thought of this cooking event as a benchmark to reflect. And now, this seemed like my personal Chanukah miracle, a small triumph. I know that this period of relatively good health won’t last for ever– maybe even not past tomorrow. The parts in my body that create my health challenges are still there. But I’m thankful for the light switching on – a reminder that nothing stays the same and there’s always the possibility you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
For more on living with difficult health during a holiday season, here are previous posts I’ve written:
December 15, 2009 Are You Feeling that Hang-dog Look? Exploring New Year’s resolutions – – are you reflective or just getting by? http://cicoach.com/2009/12/15/are-you-feeling-that-hang-dog-look/
December 23, 2010 Holiday Cheer & Living with Illness — It helps to notice rather than stuff the feeling like you’re a bah humbug in the midst of all the celebration. Give it some air! http://cicoach.com/2010/12/23/holiday-cheer-and-living-with-illness/
December 19, 2013 Does Holiday Stress Leave You Speechless? Responding to ‘happy holiday wishes’ when you’re not feeling cheery can be stressful and demoralizing. Creating intention for how you want to move through this can smooth the rough bumps. http://cicoach.com/2013/12/19/does-holiday-stress-leave-you-speechless/
December 2, 2014 What Are You Doing for Yourself this Holiday Season? Self care, taking care of your inner and outer being, can mean just allowing yourself to vent. But it’s even more productive when you explore through conversation what these feelings bring up for you. http://cicoach.com/2014/12/03/3798/