In most UU churches, there is a part of the service where you can go up and light a candle of joy or concern or hope or gratitude for someone or some thing or event. Larger Churches do a collective one or have a limit to the number of people who can go up and light and talk (first 5 or whatever). Our church is small, so it is kind of whoever wants to go up can. Sometimes it is hardly any or quite a few. It can change the length of the service. It is one of my favorite parts of the service because you get to share other people's joys and concerns and it isn't about prayer or God really (unless you want it to be), it is more about sharing the good and the bad with others so that happy times can grow within others and the burdens of life can be eased through the sharing of them.
I do not go up there often. Certainly not every time D is in the hospital because then I feel like I'd be up there every other week.(Or it would seem, but actually D went a whole year without a hospitalization or major illness.) But I have gone up two or three times. The last time was in April, when I lit a candle for Snickollet when her husband died. I truly believe that sometimes things are too joyous or painful to be contained within us, and when we share those things with others, those who are willing can take some of it on for themselves so you don't have to.
Today I wanted to go to church and light a candle. But I didn't get to go because Aaron was sick with a fever. Last week has been pretty miserable for D. His spasms and pain were not being well controlled by medication. The medication wasn't right and causing his BP to fluctuate wildly and for him to really lose the ability to be very coherent. Last night he took an ambulance to the emergency room after what appears to be the symptoms of an accidental drug overdose. He is stable now, and I talked to him this morning and he was semi-cognizant. This thing is getting to be a lot to take. The burden is weighing heavily on us, and I find a need to share it with others.
I wanted to go to church and light a candle. I wanted to take Naim and have my dad stay with Aaron at home. Aaron's fever was in the 101 range, and I gave him motrin, so some fluids and couch time and he will be okay. All my dad would have had to do was sit with him in front of the TV for a bit over an hour. But he didn't want to, even though right now as we speak during church time he is sitting with Aaron on the couch watching TV. Ninety-nine percent of the time I can take my dad's selfish shit. I just ignore it. There is good in there, I do see it. But sometimes it just gets to me. I probably could have coerced him into it or struck some kind of deal with him, but I just didn't have it in me...so fuck it. We will all stay home. Maybe later I can bundle Aaron up in the stroller and take Naim for a walk. It is a pretty nice day out.
So if I had been able to go to church, and sit for a peaceful hour by myself, and talk to well-wishers and kind people, and lay down my burdens a bit, here is what my candles would have been for:
The first, a candle of concern for D of course. And hope that we can find a way to get through the next two months safely and with a minimum of pain for him, and that there is a solution; a light at the end of this tunnel that in a few weeks a new pump will be able to be easily popped back in with no complications.
The second, a candle of gratitude for friends and those who have offered to help. D has a good friend named Jason, who really is a good guy and sticks by him no matter what. He is a young guy, late 20s, I think. And he is a good looking, energetic, healthy guy who could easily be out partying with friends instead of coming to visit D at 10pm to see if he is ok. Years and years ago, one of D's brothers made some comment to me that burned into my brain. He said that no guys will want to hang out with D because he would cramp their style (paraphrase, and to be fair, I don't know if he still believes this.) And I thought, yeah...that's probably true. But their are good guys out there who aren't that shallow and think of friends as more than helpful props to pick up women. Jason is one of those good guys.
And I am so thankful for my friend, Niklas, who I've known for 15 years and who stayed up and talked to me last night until 3am (his time) and who took me from being on the verge of tears and a pounding headache, to laughing and being pain free in a matter of a couple of hours. (Even though, for some unknown reason, our conversations always seem to involve pe*nises and jokes about said pe*nises...but hey, it worked, damn it.) Niklas is someone who likes me for who I am, only wants what is best for me, and puts aside almost everything to lend an ear when I need one. He is threatening to come and visit us in May, and he better follow through or I am going to send D and my children to Toronto for a week so he can deal with them and I can have a 'house vacation.'
Also, people at the church have been extremely helpful. I have had numerous offers to help babysit the kids. A 14 year-old girl came over last night and brought pizza for the kids for a few hours. One thing I have to say is that the kids/young adults at my church are really amazing. They are so polite and generous and thoughtful and interesting to talk to. If I can produce teenagers like that, I'll have done good.
So, those would be my candles that I would have lit at church today, except that I only would have said a sentence for each, of course. I'm virtually lighting them here, because I need to share my burdens and my gratitude, and because I hope the light from my virtual candles can join with the light of all that is good and kind and generous out there.
(And I will ignore the fact that my dad just said to me, "So, did D make it through the night?" And "you better find some more work in case he doesn't make it." And I will ignore the fact that he just left the house at 12:12pm. If he would have been willing to wait about 20 more minutes, I would have been home from church anyway. I will ignore these things because they are just negative and dark and pointless. Today, no matter what, I'm all about the light.)