January 23rd, 2021

Nobody is truly ever alone in this world

By Lethbridge Herald on December 19, 2020.


Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
Well, here it is again. Christmas.  Our first and — let’s pray —perhaps last COVID Christmas. Hopefully, the festive season will live up to its name after a year wracked by the pandemic.
We are living in a vastly different world than 12 months ago when people this weekend were buying their last-minute gifts, getting groceries and planning their Christmas dinner.
Instead of packing stores and greeting friends in aisles, we’re now practising social distancing while wearing masks and doing our shopping as quickly as possible to reduce our risk of contracting COVID.
Christmas will be a subdued affair for many in this country and others due to restrictions and safety considerations. Some, of course, will flaunt safety and put others at risk just like some drive after drinking. After all, some people just won’t change until it’s too late.
But hopefully, we can try to find some peace and harmony this season as we engage in Christmas activities. It will be hard to celebrate when so many Canadians have lost their jobs, family members or both to COVID and I hope we all  can hold them in our hearts.
This year has been a tough one, the hardest I’ve personally ever experienced. This will be the first Christmas being the only living member of my immediate family. My mom died almost on this day several years ago, dad died in March of 2019 and my brother suddenly passed in August. I officially became an orphan at 61 this year and it’s a weird feeling knowing I don’t have any of my family left to talk with.
Out of habit, I still occasionally have the urge to call dad and chat, even this many months later. And it’s odd not seeing Grant’s daily emails or responses to my tweets.
If there is a God and an afterlife of some sort, I hope my parents and brother have all found peace and have reunited with long-departed family members. I know many readers will be adamant God exists; others will argue just as vehemently no deity does.
While I don’t subscribe to an organized religion, I do have faith because of a dream I had back in 1987 when I was in the hospital with a little heart issue that my gym pals blamed on not cycling the ‘roids which I wasn’t actually on. But if I’d known where to get them, I probably would have juiced up because I believed in the philosophy of go big or stay home.
In this dream, a voice told me my mother was Jewish and to read Psalm 8. I had no clue what a psalm was or where to find one. And we didn’t have Google back then so I had to ask someone.
According to encyclopedia.com, ““Psalm 8” is a hymn, or a song of praise. In it, the poet meditates upon the grandeur of the night sky and man’s seeming insignificance in comparison with it. But the speaker’s faith reminds him that man is made in God’s image and is thus greater than the rest of God’s natural creations. For this reason, man is given dominion over the natural world, but only at a price. Man’s first and last thoughts, as they are in the psalm, must be of God. Without such faith, man would be humbled by nature into hopeless insignificance.”
Without Google back then, I didn’t know this. But I did learn that it is generally considered to have been the work of King David and was the inspiration for a few hymns.
To this day, I have no clue why this came to me but thanks to Ancestry DNA, I do know I have Jewish cousins. Because we are randomly assigned strands of DNA equally from both parents, it’s possible I have European Jewish ancestry but it doesn’t show.
My dad’s test showed none so I suspect it would be on my mom’s side if it indeed exists and I actually doubt it. But my results at Ancestry and MyHeritage don’t show I’m Dutch either but several algorythms at GEDMatch do. And plenty of Dutch cousins have shown up on both sites. So who knows?
After all these years, that dream still haunts me and I’ve often thought if it was a message from God, he, she or they got the wrong number because I still haven’t figured it out in 33 years.
But it was definitely a sign as the opening few lines attest:
“Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
who has set thy glory about the heavens.”
It goes on to say:
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visited him?”
With those words, somebody is telling me something. The psalm dream was a message and to me it’s perhaps a message telling me there is something beyond what we have on this earth. And it tells me there is more than the struggles we are enduring this year and we aren’t alone when we face those struggles.
And many will struggle this year with unemployment, loss of loved ones and depression. Christmas can be tough enough without the monkey wrench that keeps smacking us this year. But nobody is alone — Psalm 8 tells me that. We are absolutely not alone. And we don’t have to struggle alone.
We don’t have to turn to booze or drugs as many might, or burn our Bears jerseys to ease the pain and despair we feel. And that’s because Psalm 8 tells us God exists. That much I can tell from Psalm 8 and the dream I had so many decades ago.
If we do find ourselves in a desperate position this Christmas, we need to reach out for a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on. Asking for help takes courage and courage isn’t easy to muster up but nobody, absolutely nobody, is ever alone.
Psalm 8 tells us that.
Have a safe and peaceful Christmas, everyone.
Follow albeebHerald on Twitter.

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