An Invitation for Love & Joy
A Story of Hope, for all ages.
L.J. was tired. He had been doing this whole remote school thing for months. Although he hadn’t been able to be around his friends, playing and laughing, in many months – he was able to FaceTime with all his friends as much as he wanted.
“Dad, why do I still feel so alone?” L.J. asked.
“I am tired of this whole pandemic thing and just want it to all be over.”
L.J.’s Dad had been working side-by-side L.J. every day as he worked tirelessly for a non-profit that helped people find food and feed their family, when they had nowhere to turn.
“Son, I understand, things are different – but we must remember to pay attention to what this is trying to teach us all.”
L.J. was confused, oh great, another lesson from Dad, he thought.
“I wish Mom could be home at night, I miss her and she is so very tired when she comes home – we hardly have a chance to play anymore.” L.J. felt this familiar pull inside him – a fish out of water. Alone. No one understands.
“Bud, mom is working really hard to save people’s lives. There are many families depending on her to give the best care she possibly can to their loved ones – and of course, it seems like the days are longer and longer because the pandemic isn’t over yet.” Dad said with exhaustion on his breath.
L.J. went off to his room to find his tablet – searching for a way out of his own thoughts. He simply could not understand why his mom was so willing to help everyone else but couldn’t be home, spending time with him.
It all seemed unfair. Every bit of it. With Christmas coming, L.J. just couldn’t find that special place around him that seemed warm and exciting. The thought of Santa coming just didn’t have the same sparkle.
L.J’s mom came home that night, earlier than usual. He could tell she was exhausted, her skin peeling and red from wearing her mask all day. Heating up the leftovers Dad left in the microwave, he could hear his parents talking about her day.
“Hon, you wouldn’t imagine the things I saw today. There was one person who was fighting so hard to overcome this illness, and just couldn’t do it any longer. I found myself longing for his family to be by his side, and they weren’t allowed. I was all he had in those last moments.”
L.J.’s eyes started to fill with tears. For a moment, his heart filled with warmth that he was able to listen to both of his parents. Not understanding why the world was so cruel to so many people, he realized he had much to be thankful for.
I’ve had enough of these devices, thought L.J. Every time I get on them, I always feel worse after – but everyone is too busy to notice. He never really thought about how he was spending his time until that night, door cracked – listening to his parents share their day together in the kitchen.
There were only three weeks until Christmas, and L.J. knew he was the only one that would make himself feel the true spirit of Christmas again.
Mom always talks about how unfairly the other nurses are treated at work. Some days fighting to even get the protective equipment they need. He realized things in his home could be much worse.
He had never missed a meal, had both his parents – was able to connect to his class with his very own laptop. While his parents were both trying to save the world, or at least, the world they could impact.
Shaking his head, snap out of it – here comes mom.
“Hey kiddo. I missed you today, how are you.” She asked. Dad was hanging back in the kitchen, cleaning up the piles of dishes that seemed to accumulate in a matter of seconds.
“Hi mom. Well, my day didn’t start out so great. I’ve been down about everything going on and I am feeling very tired of things being the same, day in and day out.”
Mom sat down, realizing that L.J. hadn't opened up this way in a long time. Suddenly, the pain of the day melted away. Remembering those who didn’t have this same opportunity. The opportunity to have a heart to heart with their child or a loved one. She suddenly realized the gift that she was receiving in that moment.
“Tell me more, love.”
“Well, you see – when I feel uncomfortable, I don’t want to feel it. If I feel sad, or mad, or confused about everything that is happening. I never talk about it. I just watch YouTube, or play my games – and the time just flies by” L.J. looked down at his shoes, avoiding eye contact.
As L.J. was speaking, he could feel all of those feelings come up – familiar and unwelcomed, all at the same time. Mom was looking at him funny, like she could see him and really wanted to hear what he was saying.
“L.J. I know exactly how you are feeling, I’ve been feeling similarly. I am so busy trying to make sure everyone has the care they need – I’ve forgotten to take care of myself, and my thoughts. But – right now, this isn’t about me, It’s about you.”
“Mom, it is about all of us. I couldn’t help but listen to you talk to Dad about what happened today at work. Hearing you talk about the person that didn’t make it – and how you felt about it, made me feel more comfortable to talk to you about what I was feeling.” L.J. looked at his mother with love in his eyes.
His mom suddenly realized that over the years, she had deliberately sheltered L.J. from these stories. They are dark, they are sad – why would she ever share those feelings with an 11 year old? He doesn’t need one more thing to worry about, she thought.
Suddenly, she realized that by not expressing her fears and honesty about her feelings – that she was teaching L.J. that these types of feelings are to remain hidden – a sacred part of our day that we don’t share with anyone. In fact, L.J.’s insights about this confusing thing called life – were all sparked by hearing someone else share their pain.
“Mom, it’s easy for me to take all of this for granted. Thinking that life is unfair. I guess I never really realized that there are some people out there that would love the opportunity to go to school from their home, with a new laptop and teachers who really cared about helping as best as they could.” L.J. immediately realized that he was missing the blessings all around him.
Mom had tears in her eyes, and Dad was listening from the hallway.
“I want to do something to help people the way you both do. Something that can help all of us – and everyone else, at the same time. But, I am nobody – it doesn’t matter what I do or say – it won’t make a difference, just sitting here in my room on this cold night – who cares about what I have to say.” L.J.’s gaze turned back to the floor.
“Oh my darling.” Mom said, “The words you’ve spoken tonight have already done so much – hearing you express what you are feeling and even wanting to make a difference in this world brings me and your Dad more joy than we could ever explain.” Mom and Dad exchanged loving glances, both with an extra sparkle in their eye.
Love tears are magical. They are filled with all of the profound emotions and joy we carry with us.
“I have an idea!” L.J. jumped up with excitement. “I saw on my news feed today, that Jupiter and Saturn will be aligning on December 21, to create a Christmas Star for the first time in 800 years!”
“Yes! I saw that today as well – HOW COOL!” Exclaimed Dad.
“What if we tried to create an event for all ages, to feel more connected this Holiday season!” L.J. couldn’t contain his spirit, and Mom was about to fall off her chair. Who is this child?!
“Mom, I want you to send a group text to all of your friends, nurses, and everyone you feel needs some love and joy in their life – to step outside on Dec. 21 after the sun sets to view the Christmas miracle!” shouted L.J.
“I LOVE this idea L.J.” said mom, “Me too!” exclaimed Dad – “I will do the same!”
You see, the importance of this Christmas star – isn’t about religious beliefs. It’s about connection. 2020 has been a year that most people want to forget. In a world that is so connected digitally, we are tremendously disconnected.
And with this short story, I invite you, your families, loved ones of all ages – to step outside on Dec. 21 at 6:00p to view the Christmas Star. Or, what we shall call – the Love and Joy Star. Even if it ends up being cloudy – it’s still there. Hope, light, love – it’s still there. And so are each and every one of you.
While you sit in the cold air, I invite you to fill your spirit with love and connection – for all those on the planet and for those who couldn’t be standing beside you this year.
Remember, we are all divinely connected – and must not ever, lose hope.
Sending you and yours a holiday season full of love and joy. I will be sending each and every one of you the most beautiful light I can muster, as we soak in the power of the Love and Joy Star, and each other.
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