Whether your holiday involves twinkly lights on a tree or eight candles on a brass base, I hope you're making it through okay. The holidays are a notoriously tough time. Depression and suicide rates actually increase. There is so much expectation placed on Togetherness,
Joy, Family Time, and Merriment. If those expectations aren't somehow met, or if you find yourself surrounded by seemingly other "happy" people while you're in fact miserable, loneliness and sadness are compounded. The joy, both real and forced, can serve as a shitty reminder that you just don't feel that way right now. While everyone else is nestled happily in their little real life snow globe, you might want to slam that snow globe at the nearest wall. This is not unusual. It doesn't mean your life sucks. I kinda think the forced happiness is much harder to deal with when you put your head down at night...
Having said that, I am genuinely enjoying Hanukkah this year. I have been thinking about the symbolism of that highest candle on the menorah. The ninth one that's often raised above the rest. It's called the "shamash". It's job is to light the remaining candles. It is the chief source of light on the menorah. It isn't counted as one of the eight nights. It's not talked about very much. But every menorah has one. It's job is essential. It literally spreads light, fire, and warmth. It allows us to publicize the miracle of Hanukkah which is strength, perseverance, and survival. Jewish triumph aside, the shamash represents those qualities in each of us. We are all lit from within, no matter how dim some of our days are. Even in our darkest moments, we can always illuminate ourselves by coming home to our truth. By doing so, we have the power to light up the world. Every person who has ever impacted the world began as one little voice in the universe. They learned to crawl, speak, and run just like the rest of us. We all started out the same, maybe not with the same genetic talents or brilliances, but God put His light into the souls of all humans. It's our job to activate the switch. Darkness is never permanent. You're not as alone as you feel. You are more watched over than you know. You are not an accident. You indeed have light and warmth to give.
I've written about this before. I'll do it again. This idea is universal and infinite. It's not mine, and I don't claim to reinvent the wheel. But I'm turning it for you as much as I can, as I know you'd do for me when I'll need it. This year as I watch my candles burn, I'm not paying attention to numbers, or to gifts (ugh, I hate the gifts). I'm focusing on the shamash and using it as motivation to stay bright, so that I can lead with light. All we can do is that. It is the least we can, and it is the most.
I love you for eight days plus forever. ✨✨✨, LB
PS- you'll have your snow globe eventually.