One Little Candle

20 Dec

I spent all last week in the hospital. I was admitted Sunday after a trip to the emergency room. Long story, and I’ll spare you the nasty details, but I had a bad bacterial infection called c diff.   It basically tore up my stomach. I wasn’t released until Saturday evening. Still on a strong antibiotic, quite weak and nursing my stomach, but very, very happy to be home.

No, it’s not an ideal time to be down and out with the holidays here. But it’s never really a good time to be sick. It is what it is. Christmas is going to have to be low key this year. People will just have to understand. More importantly, I will have to understand. Which is hard. I’m used to going full speed and I just can’t do that right now.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my recovery is gratitude. I’ve written about it many times. One of my dearest friends always reminds me to find the silver lining in everything. I have miraculously been able to look at this whole situation and find the good. My family really rallied. The kids and my husband got the Christmas tree up and decorated, kept the house running, and lifted my spirits. My amazing sponsor spent almost every day with me in the hospital and showered me with TLC. Friends have been beyond generous with prayers, kind words and dinners for my family.

My son’s fifth grade religious education class that I teach made get well cards for me. I was blessed with an amazing assistant catechist whom I didn’t know until this year but has been an absolute angel. Just another example of how HP puts people in your life for a reason. She thoughtfully had the kids make cards for me and checks in often as well.   We also got a new student in our class just two weeks ago. A sweet girl who brought me a little candle for Christmas with a nice card. That simple gesture meant more than she or her family can know. I had that candle next to my bed in the hospital and it kept the room smelling like a Christmas tree. All the nurses and doctors who came in commented on it. It brought me a little Christmas cheer in an otherwise scary time.

The candle smells amazing. But it is also a symbol. A symbol of light. A symbol of hope. There’s a song called “One Little Candle” which a couple of artists (Perry Como and Chicago) have covered. I think I sang it in chorus when I was in sixth grade. I found the lyrics:

It is better to light just one little candle,
Than to stumble in the dark!
Better far that you light just one little candle,
All you need’s a tiny spark!

If we’d all say a prayer that the world would be free,
What a wonderful dawn of a new day we’ll see!
And, if everyone lit just one little candle,
What a bright world this would be!

 This world could use a little spark and brightness right now. I know I could. Imagine if everyone did light one little candle and saw that candle as light and hope too. Some friends lit Hanukkah candles on their menorahs. Many will go to churches on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and light a candle in memory of a loved one. I will light my little candle and remind myself to find the silver linings and my gratitude.

I’m grateful that the last thing I have wanted through all this is a drink. My sobriety is truly a gift. I know this is a hard time of year for so many people who struggle with alcoholism, addiction, depression, and more. To them I say this: have faith. Stay strong. No matter how bad things get, find something for which you are grateful. It may be as simple as a warm place to hang your hat. Trust me. It works.   Just as a single little candle goes a long way, so does gratitude.

Best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy holiday season. Thanks for the continued support.

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.” – Buddha

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7 Responses to “One Little Candle”

  1. Christy December 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    I am so blessed to be your sponsor, AG. To see you and how very sick you’ve been hurt me to the core. I did what I could for you and stayed by your side until someone else came to see you. It was really tough for you. And now, 4 days after being home, you write this beautiful piece. It is hope that keeps us moving foward. It shows us we should never give up even in our darkest hour. You light the way for multitudes of alcoholics that read your blog and your book. It makes me think of a something I read a long time ago. May the star of hope lead you down the path of peace.

  2. Bob Hisel December 21, 2017 at 10:15 am #

    How interesting that recovery from alcoholism taught you how to deal with recovery from a serious disease. Both are potentially deadly. Both cause misery and great family distress as well as physical and psychological pain. And both require the efforts you so wisely describe in this blog. You inspire us all to apply the life lessons we learn in AA to our daily lives and double down those lessons in times of crises. God bless you.

    • sobermom December 22, 2017 at 6:14 am #

      Bob than you so much for always taking the time to write some kind words in response to my pieces. It really means a great deal to me. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  3. Val Gass December 21, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

    You are such a gift and an inspiration. I think when we can see the value of heartfelt actions, like that sweet candle, our lives have so much more value and satisfaction. Clearly, you are loved by many, including me.

  4. Paul S December 21, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    This is beautiful – finding the joy and silver lining among the pain and physical suffering. A drink would have done nothing but make things worse. This is was a wonderful post. I loved it. Glad you are feeling better….and have a wonderful holiday season!

    • sobermom December 22, 2017 at 6:15 am #

      Thank you so much Paul. Truly appreciate your feedback. Happy holidays to you as well.

  5. Bob C December 22, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Merry Christmas and thank you from someone else whose “off switch” is broken. Bob

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