The Open Door, Eighth Light, Eighth Night

chanukiah_eigth night“The eighth night is dedicated to dedication, the dedication of the shamash to the service of the humankind. She is an open invitation, the current which connects door to neighbor’s door; house to neighbor’s house, self to community, to nation, to world and the utmost of the universe. The shamash, the supreme usher, welcomes us into our House of Holies…and Redemption follows in its wake.”
~ From A Different Light: The Hanukkah Book of Celebration by Noam Zion and Barbara Spectre

As I prepare for this, the final night of this Chanukah, a very different Chanukah for me in so very many ways, I’m struck at how I felt last Saturday night and how I feel today.

Saturday, December 8th, was all about preparation for the ten guests who were going to join me later in the day. It was a day of cleaning, cleansing, packing away of some of the old, very hard and deep feelings, and then it morphed into an evening of sharing, stories, laughter, eating, and of, I feel, coming together and starting to see this holiday as more than what it had always been previously for me: a Jewish version of Christmas morning.

As I started this blog with thanks to Rabbi Pam Wax,  coming up to the last night, with thanks to her again for giving me some spiritual tools that I had never been exposed to before, helping me see deeper into this entire experience.

I had never been brought up in a religious household, although we held to the holidays (basically).  What changed for me? I’ve thought about this often over the last number of years, being surrounded by so many in my life who have dedicated their faith to God, those who had newly discovered a pathway to God, and those who entered my life already with that belief firmly entrenched. I’m still not sure where I am in all this, but I DO find some comfort in saying the prayers (especially when I can say them with Lisa or Sam…and what an amazing feeling it was to share one with my son). This is all new to me, and as I keep saying: I’m trying to find the comfort, the support, and the belief in what I am doing.

What is different about tonight is that I will be physically alone lighting the candles, but, as I’ve stated, I’ll be connected with Lisa, my SO, and Adam & Alexis, my children (I wish there was a way to include Jessica & Rob in this: we’ll have to figure out possibilities for next year…it’s to my regret that we couldn’t this year). I also, in going back to the story I retold a number of posts ago (CLICK HERE; bottom of the post), that we carry in our memories and hearts those who’ve shared our lives, who’ve meant something to us, and are no longer with us in life.

It will be quiet here after the ceremony, no big meal to eat (or clean up afterwards…but, Lisa and Jessica took a lot of that off my shoulders this year), and once I finish Skyping with Lisa, I’ll sit in an area where I’ll watch the candle wax give themselves up as the flames reach up, still giving off the prayers said over them until, they, too, are extinguished. The words will still float there, as will the prayers I give now each and every day:

Rededication and opening doors back to my life, to caring about myself and others, to reclaiming myself and the good that I have inside me, appreciation of joy and happiness, strength of spirit, so I can be there not only for myself but others, and acknowledgement of all that I do do, and am, and a way to find peace and love even amongst the most horrible of days.

I am writing this early in the day, as the words are bidding themselves to come out now, not later. I will still post this after midnight, appearing on Sunday, December 16th, the last day of Chanukah (remember: we go sundown to sundown). It just feels right for me to express this now.

I’ll end this with how I began the service on the first  night of Chanukah, amidst friends and family, all loved ones, with a slight alteration. (This also comes from the above mentioned book by Noam Zion and Barbara Spectre}

Hinneni Muchan Um’zuman/Here I am ready to light the last 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), Roman R. Nager (my father), Charles Tabone (a HS friend, my Italian brother), and for all those slain, young and old,  in the tragedy that befell an elementary school in Connecticut on Friday, December 14th…and to their families and friends who have suffered due to this.

Peace on Earth, Good Will to All, All Year Long

Happy Chanukah

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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 16, 2012, in Caring, Counsling, Family, Friends, Grief, Healing, Inspiration, Loneliness, Love, Meditations, Mindfulness, Prayers, Spiritual, Support, Therapy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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