Along with the rest of you, today I am thinking back over the year which comes to an end tonight.
Where did it go?
I never did write a Christmas letter, you know. Not a word. To be honest, I think the flagging spirits got in the way, just a little. Going to Switzerland was a big deal for me. Big ,because I was at that stage in my life where taking care of the details was almost beyond me. If someone had said to me...."I have booked the tickets, and am taking you there and fetching you when the time comes to get home....all you have to do is pack and I will see to everything else" , I may well have burst into tears of relief.
But, as we all know, I pulled myself together enough to get on that plane and get there. And back. And the time away has given me more perspective and the time to regroup.
2008 has been memorable for many of the wrong reasons. I have expounded on that enough. There is also so much more that I cannot or will not write here, which is in the process of being dealt with as well. So, having got that out of the way, what else did 2008 bring?
The joy of finding out that I am going to be a granny is up there at the top of the list.
The delights of being a part of my adult children's lives, scattered all over the place.
The blessings of a mother and sister who love me unconditionally.
The love and kindness of my friends, all over the world.
The pride in a son who got his place at the University of his choice, and is loving his new life.
The support of some special friends who have helped me throughout the latter half of the year.
These, then, are the things which matter most to me.
I have read some amazing books. I have watched some mindless TV. I have been to a couple of movies. Well, one actually, but that is probably still a record for me! I have baked, and cooked, and washed, and cleaned, and tidied, and shopped, and created, and sewn, and worked, and written, and thought, and prayed, and celebrated, and helped, and driven, and grown, and received, and given, and comforted, and cheered, and another few zillion things too. I have asked many questions, and found fewer answers. I have argued, and worried, and yelled, and lost my temper, and resorted to sarcasm. I have annoyed, and angered, and wept and wailed.
Good grief. I sound certifiable.
So what does that all mean?
I have lived. I have seen another year pass by. Just like the 53 did before. They all last roughly the same number of days, given a leap year or so, and for all those 54 years (and a half), I have lived my life. This is what life is all about. Living. I am a fallible human. A woman who still has dreams. Who still wants to do better next year. Who still believes she can do anything, if she tries hard enough. Who has had and will continue to have adventures.
I don't make New Year resolutions any more. I attempt to make daily ones. I pray for more patience, more grace, more love. We are not aiming for sainthood here, just trying to refine ourselves a trifle. I am not that good at it, I confess. And when I don't do it.....you can be absolutely sure there will be heavenly intervention. I know. And every day, I still keep listing 5 things I am thankful for at the start of the day. It has come to colour my life.
2009 is going to be a BIG year. Internationally, we are moving into a new year of total uncertainty. Economically, a year of great challenge. Politically, a year of great change. A year in which, I have a strong suspicion, we will all find our worlds radically altered. One thing is certain....we will all have to learn how to adapt very rapidly.
And personally? Well, given the time of year, I am thinking back to 2000+ years ago, when, in the midst of political and economic upheaval, a man and a woman found shelter in a humble stable, and a baby was born.
And in this small family here, amidst everything the outside world throws at us, we will be gathering around a small baby soon. The outside world will cease to matter as we gaze at the first child of a new generation in our family. Her aunt will be coming home to meet her from across the world, and you know, nothing else matters.
And why? Because of love. Deep and abiding love. Love and family. Love for family. Family gathering from afar, to love a tiny baby. Love. Hope. Thankfulness.
So I am going to be spending the last hours of 2008 preparing for the joys of 2009, sewing the first quilt for our little one. I can't think of a better way to start the new year.
Happy New Year to each and every one of you!