The Light Still Shines

Just a view short weeks ago, it started looking kind of grim outside, at least here in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) and in other parts of the country and world where it is obvious that winter is coming. Well, it’s here, Yesterday was the longest, and darkest day of the year… the winter solstice, the 1st day of winter. The trees are withered and lifeless, and the grass is no longer green. Although it may seem to be a morbid way of putting it, nature has painted a portrait of death outside. And it’s in this environment that Advent comes along to bring to mind the fact that all things will end. Just as the universe had a beginning, so to it will have an end as science attests. But Advent is a time of hope––at the end of all things, Christ comes again and ushers in a new, transformed creation where all things will be well and it will be all sunshine all the time––beyond time. At the beginning of Advent, the Church has us think about this so that we can be prepared for the last things, and the end of our lives in this present state. But it’s time for hope, because the end brings Jesus along with it. In the final stage of Advent (today is the final day of Advent)  as Christmas approaches, joy is in order: we are entering into the event of the birth of Our Lord and Savior. Either way, Jesus is coming and he comes to bring peace and joy into our lives.

It may be dark outside, but tomorrow the Sun of Justice will arise with healing in his rays. The Light will shine in our darkness.

Maybe it’s an overreaction but the last few days of my life have been kind of dark. Prompted by pain I’ve been having for a while, I thought that a new wheelchair with comfortable seating would help. Well, in the process I also opted for a better way to control my wheelchair instead of a standard joystick because of the progressive weakening of my hand and arm. it was just suggested to me that I use a head controller– but I brushed the idea aside because, well, I can still use my hand and arm and I was managing to drive my wheelchair fairly well. Because the ATP (adaptive technology professional) from the wheelchair company kept insisting that it would work better for me, I  gave in and bit the bullet so to speak. It’s left a bitter taste in my mouth.  I got the new wheelchair about 2 weeks ago and it’s been a difficult trial for me— i struggle to drive the thing with my head and have come to realize that using my hand was a whole lot better.  A representative from the wheelchair company actually agreed with me that I was struggling more than I had to in order to drive straight with the head array— basically a headrest with sensors built into it— I lean on it with my head and “tell” the chair which way to go. I kept hitting the doorframe of my room. Yes, it requires practice but it seems to me that driving in tight corners will always require assistance. There is a joystick in the back of the chair for this. The chair will actually make me more dependent, not less. The vendor said he would make modifications for a  joystick. But spacing must be just right for me to drive. The trouble with new wheelchairs is that they are different and require adjustment, even if the standard joystick will be there. Anyway, I’m waiting for this to happen after Christmas, and so the chair is sitting in the living room as an eyesore. Every time I look at it I get the sense that I was better off with the old chair in which I’m currently sitting in. To be sure, the new one is more comfortable.

Life is up-and-down, just when you get the hang of something, when you are used to carry a cross,  another difficulty comes to take its place. There are always things to be grateful for, but  still, we all struggle with hardships and inconveniences that come along. This past weekend after Sunday Mass, I got to talk to Sister Mary of the Sisters of Life. It was good to talk to her. She encouraged me and basically reminded me that I give hope to others who are suffering because I know what it is to suffer.  This is why, she told me, that I should continue writing on this blog and offer encouragement through it. Then I realized that I was not alone in my trials— Jesus knows what it is to suffer and is with us in our suffering. He lived our life. And this is Christmas. God enters into our world, to be with us, to experience everything we go through so we wouldn’t be alone. Whether we know it or not, we’ve been longing for him. Christ is the longing of every human heart. God himself leaps down from his heavenly throne, compelled by love because the one who loves is never content to be more than an arms length away from the beloved.  How unbelievably merciful is the Creator of the universe… he doesn’t leave us to our devices, he leaps from his throne above the heavens to come down to us, to lift us up out of the mire of our misery. So, while suffering through hurts,  it’s a bit easier to endure. There is hope— because the light shines in the darkness and he can never be extinguished.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers, dear reader. And I will do the same for you.  Merry Christmas!

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