Steps, Second Light, Second Night

chanukah-candles-lit-for-the-second-nightI am looking at Chanukah (or Hanukkah) differently this year: as from A Different Light: The Hanukkah Book of Celebration by Noam Zion and Barbara Spectre as they see this as a re-dedication of the “inner sanctum”. My house has changed drastically over the years, with my children growing up and moving on with their lives, and first with the loss of my father in 1999 and then the loss of my mother this October. I am in a relationship with a most wonderful woman (who came upon me at at time when I wasn’t even looking for a relationship, and now we are together almost a year and a half), and I know I’m surrounded by the good wishes, love  and concern of friends.  So…there are blessings mixed in with the heartaches: my biggest being, at this moment, not working full time but only as a substitute teacher.

Right now, income and finding a job is my biggest cause of worry, anxiety and pain. I am dealing with the grief of loss of a parent slowly. The grief is mixed in there-I know that-but there are many levels, steps if you will, to climb up and get past during this time period. This “journal” is part of a way to cope. Saying the prayers is another. Getting closer to my loved ones is still more of what helps.

What I liked, in a poem I shared with Lisa, who was with me for the second night of Chanukah as well as the first, is this from A Different Light :

Dedicate yourself to singular steps in an upward direction…go out of your way to do one new kindness every one of these eight days, for each is a link in the ever increasing chain of compassion that stretches out before you….Just as each good act gives forth another, one spark springs forth to a second wick, while a string of candles await.

What made this even more special for me: my son and daughter-in-law live over 7 hours away, and are unable to visit this year (just as I’m unable to go out to see them at this moment). Thanks to modern tech, I put them on speaker phone, and we were able to share the lighting of the candles “together””: they lit their Menorah while I lit mine, with my reciting the blessings for us all. When we were done and wished each other a Happy Chanukah, we hung up.

I got a call less than two minutes later: they both enjoyed the experience so much that we are going to do this every night, calling and lighting the candles together, so many miles apart.

Steps…and rededicating the way our lives are, together in a way we can.


An educational aside:

I worked with students with Special Needs today in a HS: I give much admiration to those who work with these students, no matter what age level. It takes a special heart, resiliency, and spirit to give so much to those who have little to no control over their behavior and/or learning capabilities. Then, when I think of the students in “regular” classes, their behavioral issues…I just shake my head.

My wish tonight is for patience, hope, and all good things for those who give themselves to the children and adults with special needs.


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 10, 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. This is so lovely, Stuart. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.

  2. This year must be difficult celebrating “light.” You are brave. I am thinking of you and wishing you prosperity and peace. xo

  3. Sounds to me like you are taking that prayer we add to the first night seriously- as you should… Thanks for remembering, fulfilling, and letting us reach this stage… (which lets us grow from there..)

  4. The steps is an excellent metaphor. Modern technology has the power to either add distance or draw people together, depending on how it is used. It’s certainly a wonderful way to stay in touch with loved ones far away. As to your aside – working with those who have special needs is not for everyone; and while it is challenging, it can also be extremely rewarding. We do appreciate your respect and good wishes! :-).

    • Lisa, you know I admire you and those you work with, the way you deal with difficulities that are beyond the norm. Yes, you don’t have the disrespect many teachers face, or the apathy (well, not in the same way) that many students show. It is a brave, hard job you do, and I am in awe you and those like you take up the challange.

      As much as I know you dislike computers, what it has afforded us is something special, and look where we’d be without it.

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