Who brought the humbug?

My youngest son and I went to a show in Minneapolis on Sunday. It was called “Who brought the humbug?” We had front row seats and he wore a Christmas suit. He certainly didn’t bring the humbug. It was me. (I’m actually in the picture on the screen)

I’m guessing less than 39 people will read this because it makes people uncomfortable.

This is what anxiety looks like. Put together, hair fixed, makeup on, smile… not what you thought? Yeah, me neither.

I didn’t know what it looked like. I used to assume anyone anxious would look worried and be fidgety. I used to assume anyone depressed would be crying and withdrawn. December 9th, 2014, my world changed. I’ve told the story before, but if you’re new, here’s a quick recap. I had gone in for a routine mammogram. That turned into an ultrasound and then a biopsy. “I’m sure it’s nothing, you’re only 41.” That nothing ended up being cancer. I was teaching a class at work when I got the call. “I’m not sure how to tell you this, but you have cancer.” The next several weeks blur together. Fast forward 5 years. Healthy, a little overweight, but cancer free.

We went to the show on Sunday with tap dancing, singing & a band. It was just the two of us because the other two were ice fishing. Gotta love MN! Before the show, we wanted to spread some kindness. We put quarters in the candy machines at the Outlet Mall. Then, with his Christmas suit on, my son and I put candy canes on the door handles of the cars in the parking lot. If there was someone in the car (happened to be all men), I asked if they wanted a candy cane too. They all said “yes.” It’s part of my 46 acts of kindness between my birthday & Christmas. I cannot call them random acts because I have to come up with ideas first – some are random, most are not. While my body is cancer free, my mind wages a different war…. anxiety about the cancer anniversary, seasonal depression, overwhelm of the holidays, lingering thoughts of not doing enough.

This kindness challenge has shifted my focus but it’s still a struggle to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve talked to more strangers than I normally do. Every part of me wants to hibernate and every part of me wants a magical Christmas. How can I be the one who brings both the humbug and the Christmas cookies? Do you ever feel this way? Caught in a tug of war? I know the things I need to do, yet I struggle to get them done. If you’re in the same boat, you’re not alone. Join me in some acts of kindness- random or not. Watch your favorite holiday movie. Dance & sing. Do something that brings you joy. It’s not selfish, it is necessary. You cannot fill from an empty cup! Give yourself the gift of taking care of you also… you’ll have more to give to others.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May your holidays be filled with joy, peace, forgiveness, gratitude, grace, love or whatever you need most this holiday season.