It was the end of a long day of work and childcare. My two kids, ages four and five, were finally asleep, and I had collapsed on the couch to read for a few minutes before tackling the laundry and the dishes.
Shivering, I pulled my sweater more closely around me; winter had just set in, and the world seemed a dark and dreary place just then.
But duty called. I dragged myself to my feet and headed towards the kitchen, passing my wall calendar on the way to the sink. Was there anything to look forward to over the next few weeks? The Yamim Tovim were over; it was a while till spring. But Chanukah was coming.
Chanukah. I paused. Two years post-divorce, I had passed the initial shock and grief stages of my marriage’s dissolution. But I hadn’t yet found the way to infuse my lonely, meaningless existence with a measure of joie de vivre. All my life, I’d learned about the importance of serving Hashem with joy. Right now, though, I wasn’t doing a very good job of it.