Missing Aunt Gladys

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This is my Aunt Gladys.  That smile was contagious. Her laughter was boisterous and as loud as she was. A small woman, barely 5 feet tall, she filled up a room with this sheer joy that radiated from deep within her heart; she was generous, loving, kind.    Having grown up with eight brothers, she had to learn how  to hold her own in arguments. She was a strong lady. She also had two sisters, Myrtle and Eltrum. I honestly don’t know which aunt I loved the most. That goes for my uncles. None of them are alive anymore. They have all left me alone in this cold world with just these childhood memories of Sunday dinner, of funerals, of laughter, of tears, of family stories of a paternal grandpa and paternal grandma I never knew.

Time moved on. The world turned. Nothing is left of that childhood of mine, except photos of those whom I loved. Photos of uncles, aunts, and family who are no longer here.

It is summer that reminds me most of them. Summer brings back watermelon spread out on tables in the yard. Summer brings back memories of all my uncles and aunts gathered on the front porch reminiscing about their childhoods.

I miss them all.

Time moves on. Our time on this earth is so very limited; our time on this earth is so very precious.

I resolve not to waste one moment of the precious time I have left on this earth. Like Aunt Gladys, I want to laugh and find joy in the simplest things. I want to choose to be happy. There is good in this world. If I have learned anything from those summer Sundays, it is to give thanks to God who loves me, to share with others, and that it is better to light one candle rather than curse the darkness.

From them all, I learned that my strength comes from the Lord. With the Lord all things are possible. I believe this with my whole heart, mind, and soul.

Thanks, Aunt Gladys for the laughter. I still can hear you in my heart all these decades later. I love you, always.

 

Copyright 2020 Jenny W. Andrews

 

 

 

 

Festival of Lights

stainless steel candelabra beside clear wine glasses
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Chag urim sameach!

Happy Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah begins at sundown December 22nd and is celebrated until nightfall December 30th, this year.

It is a celebration of family, freedom and light.  Hanukkah means “dedication.” Historically, the origin of Hanukkah began in the year 168 BCE when Antiochus Epiphanes IV attempted to squash Judaism. The Maccabean Revolt ensued in which the Jewish rebel Judas Maccabeus defeated Antiochus Epiphanes IV. The Jews rededicated the Temple after the Greek occupation of that holy place. A small quantity of oil miraculously kept the Temple menorah lit for eight days.

Hanukkah is primarily celebrated on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar). It is entirely coincidental that it falls near Christmas.

For Hanukkah, families gather to light the menorah, pray and sing hymns, exchange gifts, and enjoy latkes and jam-filled donuts, just to name a few activities.

Tomorrow night, on the river front in my town a menorah will be lit a few feet from the Christmas tree. As a community, we will all gather to offer our prayers for peace. In this late December, it will promise to be a cold, dark winter night; however, the lights from the menorah will shine forth and unite with the glow from the Christmas tree lights just a few feet from it. As God’s people, we will join our voices together to ask for peace, to ask for justice, and to ask God to protect us as we turn our faces toward the future.

This can be a cold, dark world, filled with cruelty and hatred. It can also be a beautiful world filled with light. It is up to us all to be that light, to shine bright like the candles in the darkness.

May our hearts be filled with the light of God’s love.

May God’s peace be with us all.

Amen.

Copyright 2019 Jenny W. Andrews

 

Research sources:

reformjudaism.org/hanukkah-history

myjewishlearning.com/article-the-macabean-revolt