Rededication, First Light, First Night

chanukah1I held a Chanukah pot luck evening for the first night of Chanukah. This is new for me as it broke from any tradition that I’ve had, this being the first year without my Mother, who passed away in mid October. We always did the same: we’d light the candles, do the prayers, sing Ma’oz tzur, and then eat dinner. If  my kids were here, we’d do a big meal and then presents. With everything going on (her death; working only as a substitute teacher right now) I needed to do something different, for my first feeling was to forgo anything at all. I’m glad, very glad, I went through with this for it was, in the long run, an ultimately wonderful experience.

My seeking out someone to work with me spiritually has been a blessing in many ways. I again want to thank Rabbi Pam Wax for not only her compassion and leadership, but also turning me onto things that had never been in my path before. Not only has she given me prayers and meditations, for focusing and finding a spiritual path, but she also has been pleased that I organized this evening. In doing so, she gave me some things that helped reshape the evening, and made it very, very special.

After everyone was assembled (there were eleven of us; I wish more had been able to join us), I started with the following, from the book: A Different Light: The Hanukkah Book of Celebration by Noam Zion and Barbara Spectre:

Hinneni Muchan Um’zuman/Here I am ready to light the first candle of Hanukkah and here I stand ready to rededicate myself to achieve higher levels of personal holiness and illumination in a world of shadows. Tonight’s candle is dedicated to Edith Ann Nager (my mother).

I passed out copies of the prayers over the candles-both in phonetic Hebrew and in English-to all, and my daughter helped with the lighting of the candles. I did it in Hebrew first, and then everyone joined me in saying it in English. After that, I said a poem entitled “Entryway to Our Inner Self”, which made connections to this house, now down by one, but this evening filled with a group of warm, loving family and friends. After singing the song, we ate.

The potluck was a great success and there was more than enough to go around. So was the love and good feelings, the storytelling and laughter. No one was drunk (not that type of party) but the warm, toasty feeling of a good time was felt, and I owe much to all who attended. There were others I wish who could have been here as well, but distance or other commitments prevented that. They were here, in spirit.

In my state, which is often depressed and worried/frightened about my future, this was a Mitzvah, a good deed, for them as it was for myself. In my prayers, one part from Talking to God by Naomi Levy came to me as the evening wore on, and only my SO was left:

…Teach me, God, to cherish all that I am, all that I have, all that I have yet to offer. Help me to rejoice in the joy of others even when in pain, to take pleasure in their pleasure, to wish them nothing but blessings and peace. Amen.”

This was a good evening, a good way to rededicate my life. I really want to thank everyone who came: Lisa, Sam, Barbara, Randy, Norma, Sandra, Laura, Bob, and my daughter Jessica and son-in-law Rob (who helped out, with Lisa, so much during the day and evening).

Happy Chanukah to one and all.

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About StuHN

I am a creative individual with many areas of passion: Professional Storyteller; NYS Certified Drama Specialist/Educator; Professional Development Coordinator & Facilitator; Workshop Leader; sometime Puppeteer; Playwright; Director; Performer; Teaching Artist; and sometimes more.

Posted on December 9, 2012, in Caring, Counsling, Family, Fear, Friends, Grief, Healing, Inspiration, Loneliness, Love, Meditations, Mindfulness, Prayers, Spiritual, Support and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Happy Chanukah, Stuart. That sounds lovely. I’m finding the holiday difficult this year, as my heart fills with sadness with each candle I light. At the same time, I’ve always loved the prayer and the ceremony and the song of Ma’otzur. We are having a pot luck on the last night. I hope it is as successful as yours.

    • {{{{{{{{Hugs}}}}}}}}}} I’m sorry YOU’RE finding sadness this year. We should talk sometime. This is a hard year for me, as you well know. I hope tonight was better for you.

  2. Sounds like a big step in a more positive direction. Congratulations, Stu!

    • Uber, all I’m doing is trying, trying to be brave for my loved ones, trying to be brave for myself. I still am at darkness, just maybe not as close to it as I was all the time in the last two months. Thanks for being a friend. You and your wife would have been most welcome here.

  3. Happy Chanukah to you and yours Stuart. I hope you bask in the love your party seemed to bring to you. You deserve that and more.

    • Thank you, Bonnie. I don’t know what I deserve right now…what I wish for is some peace and joy, a chance to relax and breathe. Thank you for the holiday wishes. Happy Chanukah (or whatever holiday is for you) too

  4. May the lights of the candles bring even more light to your life.

  1. Pingback: Moments of Joy, Moments of Sorrow: The World in Balance « Woman Wielding Words

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