The Gentle Season

blue christmas ornamentsNot feeling it these days.

The halls may be decked and the menorahs may be lit, but right now, the muttering of humbugs are drowning out the choirs of angels. If not for The Kid, I have a feeling that John and I would be jetting off to parts unknown, sunblock in hand.

Truth be told, it’s been years since I have bounded out of bed during the holidays. Our family dynamics are complicated, and while we love all of them dearly, holidays have become such a source of stress that even without food issues, I’d be cranking up the basals along with the ringing bells.

I’m not even in December anymore, at least in my head. With less than 90 days until The Diabetes UnConference begins, my focus is there. The “leap of doom” that I took this year in deciding to found this conference, starting a 501(c)(3), and scrambling to secure funding has been filled with those 3am “What the hell did I do?” moments.

I’ve had some eye-opening and heart-breaking moments, getting support from where I least expected it (and you know who you are and I am so thankful) (And where I expected it and I am so grateful for continuing friendships…) but then at the next turn being berated by others for not making this event completely free and offering more scholarships for travel and lodging. (Or worse, knowing that some in this community will not attend, because… well…I just can’t get into that right now.) I promised John that this conference would not become a financial burden to our family. I may break that promise this year.

Why do I bother telling you all this? You all have your own burdens. Your own issues.

I am asking you all to be gentle with each other. This needs to be the gentle season.

We are all going to have days (or weeks or months or years) of not feeling it. Don’t heap on what is already a tough psychological trudge by calling someone out for their own blues.

Instead, give.

Give comfort.

Give succor.

Give hope.

Give love. 

It costs nothing to give these things.

For those of us with chronic illnesses like diabetes that can suck the fun out of an average day, being gentle goes to a new level. Be gentle with yourself.

Have an extra helping of your grandmother’s stuffing? Eat a piece of that peppermint bark that has been taunting you? Watch that blood glucose level not bother to creep, but to leap and bound upwards like a goat on meth?

It’s going to be all right. Do what you can. Acknowledge that being perfect doesn’t exist, but working towards keeping in range does, and take the steps slowly. But take the steps forward. And be gentle with your steps.

I thank each and every one of you for reading the thoughts I share with you. For sharing your thoughts with me in emails and comments. For being a part of the community that no one wants to be a part of and one I adore so desperately. 

Be gentle. This is the gentle season.

Every season should be the gentle season.

Much love,




  1. kelly2k

    Christel - I love you and I am so thankful for your friendship and advocacy - I really am.
    The holidays (and my family dynamics) are very difficult for me as well - I get it.
    And right now I just want to reach through the computer and hug you, tight.
    Only the dead are perfect, the living can only do our best and we can’t please everyone - Being gentle with ourselves & others is the way to go.
    Thank you for reminding us of that.
    Love to you your beautiful family and I can’t wait to see you in real life at The Diabetes UnConference.
    Until then - Love you, lady!

  2. Kate Cornell

    I love this post. It went straight to my heart and some of it could have been written by me. Thank you for speaking the right words at the right time. And thank you too for taking the leap and creating what I know will be an awesome, wonderful conference!

  3. StephenS

    There’s a lot of this going around these days. Me too. What I hope is that this means we’ll all be doing great and have big smiles in mid-March. And if we don’t, that will be okay too.

    Gently, let me wish you and your family the best of holiday seasons.

  4. Katy

    I needed this post. A breather. You’re so right on.

    But ugh-the nagging question: how in creation does someone think you can do it all for free?

  5. Jenn

    You will never, ever, ever please everyone (as you know). But we can all be gentle with ourselves and follow your great example to ask others to be gentle with us when we need it. We tend to forget we’re not the only person in the world. Thanks for making yourself a gift for us. xo

  6. cdlefevre85

    “Bounding like a goat on meth” priceless line. Hang in there. The gathering you are putting together is so great and I commend you for taking it on.

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