What Do You Live For?

What Do You Live For?

’Tis the season for sending and receiving holiday cards, gift giving, texting and emailing pics of happy families. ’Tis the season for joy and merriment. ’Tis the season of triggers, especially for those of us with challenged family circumstances.

Many of us who have not been blessed with an intact family can nevertheless find happiness if we look inside to our heart and spirit. That is where we can find meaning, joy and love. We can choose to trust that we’re ok, that our life has meaning and to relax and let the invisible hands of gods and angels guide us.

Many years ago, when I was interning for my degree in Music Therapy, I met Mr White, a middle aged man who had been struck down by a mysterious virus that left him paralyzed from the neck down. One afternoon, I entered his hospital room, which he had occupied for over two years. When he saw me come in, he smiled from ear to ear and said “Merry Christmas, my dear girl!” I took out my guitar and we started to sing “Joy to the World.” Mr White stopped singing at one point, and with tears in his eyes, said, ”I’m so happy. I’m so blessed. Thank-you for coming to see me.”  We talked for a while and he shared that, even though he’d lost the use of his body, he was happy. He told me that happiness comes from inside, no matter what the circumstance and that it is always a choice. Then he asked me, “What do you live for?” I remember giving some pat answer because I was young and clueless.

So now I ask myself that question and I know the answer: I live to love, I live to grow, to answer my soul’s call of the wild, to express who I am and to honor the gifts bestowed upon me. I live to create and to allow and encourage others to do the same. And I live to heal my heart and as I do so, to help others heal their own brokenness.

This Christmas I wish to ignite the light inside me that has flickered too dimly for too long. I wish to love myself, my true, essential, authentic, beautiful self, perhaps for the first time in my life. 

Merry Christmas to you, Mr White, wherever your spirit has transported you. Thank-you for teaching me about happiness and choices. Know that you have lived in my heart all these years and will evermore.



3 thoughts on “What Do You Live For?”

  • All I can do with the latest brush off that hurt, is to tell myself: Keep the mind clear.
    That is my mantra lately. Although it is painful that a year is passing without seeing my son or my grandchildren, this is nothing new.

    I have to soften and diminish the emotions that are evoked by my son and his wife. I want a clear mind. I want to take the best care of myself.

    I may find out or I may not about what drives my son’s wife to cotinuously feel threatened by me.

    Things may get better; they might get worse. Right now I think that my letters and presents reach the kids. That much I am grateful for.

    I have another child who is doing well and reaches out to me. I have a sibling to whom I am close. And I have a close friend although she is quite busy.

    My son made it clear passively -aggresively that my request to see the family for a brief time (no meal, nothing required on their part) on Christmas is rebuffed. I felt it like a slap to my heart. But it wasn’t a mean slap; it was a quick gift in response to the request of seeing him and his family. I know that he still loves me, even though he is continually beaten down my the vicous PR from his wife about me.

    I keep that knowledge that he loves in my mind during these times. I will not feel diminished as a person just because a couple who are not happy with life are lashing out at a parent. I try to see what is happening to me in the third person. Taking on a more objective, spacial view point.

    I think that protecting myself from these little assaults is going to take the form of withdrawal from asking for contact (in person contact). Because, when I do, I get pummelled emotionally. And I am unwilling to endure that harm anymore.

    For whatever reasons, whatever mental illnesses are present in the family or not, I have to turn down the importance of my son and my grandchildren in my life. Yes, it is hard. Conscious work of putting care of my self, my mental health and my pain first.

    Thank you, Nancy for posting again. Your writing is honest and deep. A gift..

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