Tonight is the last night of our very first Hanukkah. If you are wondering when we converted to Judaism, you aren’t alone. We’ve had a few questions about our celebration of the holiday this year, but the best way I can describe it is we’re not a religious crew. Trent and I have very different ideas about religion and God in general, but to put it plainly, I have a very hard time believing in any religion these days. I grew up in a Catholic church and school, studied Islam and Judaism in college, and spent my first few years post-grad as a member of a United Methodist church here in Kansas City. Heck, I even had Lucy baptized. But here is the thing, while I believe in certain aspects of religions (souls, for example) I have a really, really hard time believing wholeheartedly in any particular religion. Basically, where I am right now, is knowing I believe that I don’t know everything about the universe, and it would be quite silly of me to claim that I do. I believe that when my children came into this world, they were gifted with beautiful souls that I saw on the day they were born and every day since. I look at the beauty and love around me every day, and I can’t imagine there is no “God” or spiritual wonderment. I believe in science and technology, doctors and nurses, teachers and leaders. I believe that things do happen by chance, but I also believe you have choices that will change aspects of your life. I believe a lot of things.
So when Lucy asked why we didn’t celebrate Hanukkah, I couldn’t give her a good reason. I know quite a bit about the holiday, so we talked about it, and she asked if we could celebrate it along with Christmas. I said yes. And here we are, on day eight, getting ready to light all the candles on our Target bought Menorah.
Last night, as I watched my two beautiful children gazing at the lit candles, my heart was so very heavy. Like any mother or father, both Trent and I took the news out of Connecticut pretty hard. Lucy is in first grade, the same age as many of the children murdered yesterday, and it took everything in me to not go pick her up early from school and hold her close, never letting her out of my sight again. I can’t explain to her why these things happen…I can’t tell her it’s God’s plan or that this children are in heaven. I just can’t do that. But watching those candles flicker in the dark, I did the closest thing I can do to praying. I gathered up every good thought and beautiful moment I could think of, and sent it out into the ether, hoping if those beautiful souls are out there somewhere, they could feel the goodness. Hoping that those parents and families might feel a touch of it as well, although I’m sure it is much too soon for them to see any good left in the world. I hope that if they are people of faith, their faith will help them through this. I hope other people of faith will find ways to lift them up through their religious beliefs, and leave the ideological squabbling for another day.
Most of all, I hope for love. I hope all the love in the world is put out into the universe during this holiday season. The lights on my Menorah tonight will be a beacon of love and hope in my home. And we’re sending all our light and love your way.