Category Archives: Teresa Schreiber Werth

December 20 – Christmas: A burden of the heart?

by Teresa Schreiber Werth

Sometimes Christmas feels like a burden of the heart. After the turkey carcass has been boiled, the bones picked and the soup is gone, I find myself crawling sheepishly into December, dreading all that must be done, missing family and friends that are gone and those I love who live far away. I don’t want to be a scrooge but the feelings overwhelm me and I am trapped…until “the Spirit of Christmas” finds a crack in my armor seeps in and saves me from myself. This year was no different.

I was “humbugging” along right on schedule, having rationalized and accepted that there would be minimal holiday decorations at our house this year. No Christmas tree? OK with me. I wasn’t at all happy with myself but I recognized the situation as normal (for me) and seemingly hopeless.

I had gone out to perform my weekly volunteer duties at Reach Out Radio where I read national and international news on our local PBS station, for the blind and visually impaired. As I was driving down our street, almost home, I could see from two houses away, that the Christmas tree was up and fully lit, in our living room. Bless the man that married me! I didn’t ask why he’d done it or how he knew that I couldn’t but, when I saw our tree, all beautiful and bright, the shiver I felt must have been the Spirit of Christmas seeping in. Close to tears, I came in the house and stood there, amazed and thankful. I actually felt as if I had to decorate it right then, and we did. I asked my husband to hang the evergreen garland around the front door and he did even better, stringing it with Christmas lights.

He got up in the closet and handed me the holiday Folkstone figures I have enjoyed collecting. I went to work on the mantel, then the entryway, the hexagonal window. Retrieving my six little button trees from the attic, I placed one in every room. What had seemed impossible a short time before was suddenly exciting and satisfying. The process of decking the halls had fixed my spirit.

I don’t want to spoil the magic by dissecting it, but I can’t help notice that finding the Christmas spirit had nothing to do with buying or wrapping, malls or catalogs, lists or sales. It was about someone performing a simple act of love. I recognized it instantly.

Perhaps Christmas seems like a heavy burden because we long for the impossible–a holiday like the ones we cherish in our memory, Christmases when we were younger and more innocent, when times were simpler and merriment seemed more attainable. Maybe we set ourselves up for disappointment by failing to live in the present, to recognize all the blessings around us in this time and place. All I know is Christmas is coming and I am ready.

Teresa Werth writes because she must. Ever since kindergarten, she has written poems, stories, songs and plays. Writing and revising words give her great joy A retired communications professional, she celebrates life daily, keeps busy making memories.

April 19 – A New Perspective

by Teresa Werth

 Everything in my environment is ordinary. The sun is shining. The dog is jumping and ready to play. The morning newspaper proclaims disasters great and small. The oatmeal, raisins. and walnuts all tumble together and cook in the microwave just as they always do. It’s on ordinary days like this I feel especially far from my son and his wife. They live and work in the Caribbean on the island of Barbados in the West Indies.

As I take my breakfast out to our screen porch, I try to imagine what they might be doing…same time zone, same bright sunshine, but half-a-world away I realize that I don’t really know what their ordinary day is like. From our infrequent visits there, I remember some of their routine, which is really no routine at all. Everything that’s said about “island time” is true. Their friends, a chef, a Long Island insurance guy who works from Barbados half the year, a bar and restaurant owner, some or all of them drop in for breakfast sometimes. Or our son gets up and goes surfing or golfing or to the college to teach or help students with their projects.

I’m still sunk in this decade-belated “empty nest funk” when I finish breakfast, clear the dishes and go to my desk. Turning on the computer, I start to plan the rest of my day: chores, meals, correspondence, projects. I call up my Gmail, and there’s a message from the far away son with an attachment. Nothing in the text box. I open the attachment.

It’s not an ordinary day, after all!

Teresa Werth writes because she must. Ever since kindergarten, she has written poems, stories, songs and plays. Writing and revising words give her great joy. Her most recent experience as a breast cancer “thriver” informs her latest work and admits her to a unique sisterhood. A retired communications professional, she celebrates life daily, making memories, providing ample inspiration for observing life through a new filter!