Monday, July 6, 2015

Christmas In July...by Jim Terry

Now I know, and I can already hear, some of you are already saying, “Bah Humbug” to the title of today’s blog, but please bare with me for just a bit. First off because you wouldn’t change my mind about Christmas anyhow, but if you have been following some of the news feeds more recently you would or might be familiar with a certain astrological event that just took place just a few days ago.

On June 30, two astronomical objects are destined to meet: The planet named after the Goddess of love, Venus, and the planet named after the God of Thunder, Jupiter. On Earth, they will appear so close together that they will look like a dramatic "double star." 

These two planets have been gradually approaching each other for the last few weeks, creeping toward their closest point: 1/3° apart. That's close enough to be able to cover them with the tip of your pinky finger with an outstretched arm. In reality, they will be around 670 million kilometers (416 million miles) apart in space, but it could produce a show that some astronomers say could account for the ‘Star of Bethlehem.’”

With the anticipation of this astrological event, I became excited and was filled with optimism by thinking how special it would be to experience a phenomenon that happened over two thousand years ago.  And of course this event, in the eyes of Christianity, served as a guiding light to help lead the three wise men to a destination known as Bethlehem where they found a babe in a manger known as Jesus.  

So in my attempt to get a vivid and vibrant picture of these two planets that appeared to almost collide and merge into one, I took a trek up the mountain one night after work to see if I could get “the shot." And just so you know, living on the coast has its pros and cons just like any other place in the world. One of the CONS of living on the coast in Northern California, especially during the summer, means FOG!  Have you ever heard of San Francisco referred to as “fog city?”  Or have you ever heard the proverb that some claim originated and could have been derived from Mark Twain that states, ”The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco?” 

Well as true to the proverb mentioned above, I started my hike in the fog. There are times however; where you can actually climb high enough to get above the fog line and once again experience the sun on your face, or on this attempt, the constellations in the heavens above.  So as I continued my journey and came closer and closer to the top of the mountain and approached the end of the trail, my hopes of seeing the “star” began to fade.  The elevation where I normally break free from the fog line was not becoming a reality on this particular day and each step I took towards the top only seemed to produce more fierce winds and a darkened ambiance. 


After I waited for about a half an hour at the top in hopes that there would be some sort of break in the clouds and because I was freezing my butt off at this point, I decided to end my attempt and began my three mile trek back down the mountain.  With each step I took in the darkness only equipped with a small flashlight, a heavy heart and no picture of  “the Star of Bethlehem,” I began to think about my life and my faith.  And as I did so, I couldn't help but to hum a Christmas song or two as my mind was flooded with wonderful warm memories, especially the ones at Christmas time to honor the purpose of my hike, where I was a young boy surrounded by family, a loving mother and father and the excitement that life offers to a young boy.  

In continuing my thought process I was also reminded of some really positive things or gifts that are happening in my life right now. 

- First the fog.  Even though I complain about it and its ability to obstruct the star I was so desperately searching for, it also provides one of the best natural air conditioners I have ever experienced. The best part...it's free.  

- A very painful pinched nerve I have been dealing with for almost two months now in my lower back that extends down my left leg has finally started to subside.

- All of my family members are currently healthy and happy.

- Not only do I have a job but I also actually really like the people and the patients I am working with.

- Finally, a dear friend who just recently endured chemotherapy for leukemia was released early from the hospital because her blood counts were so good and because there were no more signs of cancerous cells.  The next step I will be looking forward to is a successful bone marrow transplant for her.

I actually could go on and on about what I thought about while hiking that night; however, I will stop with those mentioned and simply recognize all of those items as gifts in my life.  And, "Yes," I know the objects mentioned weren't like the typical gifts that are placed under a tree all wrapped up with a bow on top, but is it any wonder then, with receiving gifts such as these, that I would think that Christmas had come early this year?  Christmas in July?  Who would have thought?


Also if you have some photos or were able to get a great shot of the “Star of Bethlehem” please share. We would all LOVE TO SEE THEM!!!

♦ Hope you'll let us share your stories and photos here at our residence "In a Nutshell." Email us at nutshellstories@gmail.com.