Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reflections on 2012 and The End of the Year

What profound words of wisdom can I expound upon as 2012 comes to a close in my collection of days?  It’s for sure that I am ending the year a heck of a lot wiser than I entered it, but I have paid a very dear price for it.  However, in spite of it all, the lessons I have learned have helped me to set my feet back onto a solid path, and I am looking forward to the new year with hope and enthusiasm.
So, what have I learned this year? 
First of all, I’ve learned that I am about the most na├»ve and trusting person on the face of the earth.  I trusted in the wrong person over a very bad decision, believing that he was my soul mate who would protect and shield me in all things.  Wrong! 
I learned that I had very strong blinders on, and could not see what was going on all around me.  I also learned that my family and friends loved me too much to try to tell me what they could see that I couldn’t.  But then, with the blinders I was wearing, I probably wouldn’t have believed them.  It took a crisis for me to shed the cursed things and see clearly.   You know what they say about hindsight being 20-20.  It’s true!
I also learned that my family and friends love me so much that they bent over backwards to support me and help me through this year, even when I disappointed them.  I have discovered for myself what true love is and how unworthy I am of it. 
Bitterness is a terrible taste in one’s mouth, and I have learned to spit it out and set my face toward the future, looking for the sunlight in my life.   I have discovered wonders that I didn’t know existed, and have deepened my spirituality in believing that things happen for a reason, even when they set me on a terrifying path that at times seems endless and dark. 
I have learned that each day I wake up is a gift.  I experienced the depth of depression for a short period of time, out of which came the realization that I never want to visit that dark place again.  I prefer to seek the sunshine and turn my face toward the sun.
There are many small blessings that might be overlooked in one’s life, and I have discovered that they may be the most powerful and important.  I learned to look for the angels carrying these small gifts in my direction, and to be thankful.
But most of all, I learned in 2012 that my collection of days continues despite what happens to me.  Each day is important and has its lessons to teach me.  I am a different person than the one who wrote in this blog this time last year.  I hope that I am a better person, a more humble person, and a more sensitive and compassionate person.  I also hope that the lessons I’ve learned will become part of who I am and will follow me into the new year.
Happy New Year to all of my loyal readers!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Found Me

I’m not sure when or where it happened. 

I think it sneaked in at the Longest Night service at the Methodist Church on the evening of December 20.  After Communion, while I was kneeling at the altar praying, the minister anointed my forehead with scented oil and said a short prayer for me.  It wasn’t until I got home after the service that I noticed an unusual fragrance following me around everywhere I went in my apartment.  When it dawned on me it was coming from the oil on my face, I decided not to bathe that night.  It was with great reluctance that I washed my face the following morning!

Or, it could have been at the kennel when I received a phone call from one of our clients telling me that she was on her way over, and to please not leave for lunch until she got there.  She and her puppy, Yogi, roared up the drive just as we were getting ready for our lunch break.  She handed me an envelope and wished me a Merry Christmas.  This surprised me, because I knew she was Jewish.  With a quick hug from her and a lick from Yogi, they were out the door and on their way.  When I opened the envelope, I found a nice Christmas card with a photo of Yogi and $25 inside. 

Maybe it has been all of the Facebook messages I have received this week wishing me a Merry Christmas from friends and family around the world.

Possibly, it was the young man behind me in the Walmart check-out line who struck up a conversation with me about our plans for the holiday with our families.  As I filled my buggy with my sacks of groceries, he smiled and wished me a Merry Christmas.

But truthfully, I think it was Daisy, the little dog I am puppy-sitting with this week.  Because she likes to go for walks, I head out every evening with her for a walk in downtown Monroe.  Friday night we happened across a living nativity on the square, complete with a camel, some donkeys, sheep, and a few bunny rabbits.  Daisy wasn’t particularly interested in the nativity scene, but the “Hallelujah Chorus” was playing through the loud speaker system, and I was caught up in the visual scene and the sounds of the wonderful music.

Somehow, Christmas has found me.  It is very different from any Christmas I have ever encountered, but it is here.

And I am crying.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where is Christmas?

I am having a difficult time getting into Christmas this year.  Too much has happened during 2012 that has rocked my world, and I find myself reeling, trying to find sure footing in my life.  Christmas just isn’t helping!
I want to get into the Christmas spirit.  I really do.  I get snippets of it from time to time, such as when I am baking cookies with my nephews and nieces or teaching a new friend how to cut out and decorate sugar cookies.  But then I find myself back in my real world, and the Christmas spirit flees from me.
It’s been a tough year.  I discovered that my biblical house was built upon the sand.  When the storms came, it crumbled and tumbled, leaving me standing bare before my creator and alone in my heartache, fears, and disappointment.  They say that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.  I’m not sure how much stronger I am, but thankfully I’m not dead yet!
I believe I have made progress, day by day.  But my journey is long, and the path is littered with stones that keep trying to trip me up.  My faith is my walking stick, and I lean on it as I maneuver my way through unknown territory.   My family and my friends are on the sidelines of my path cheering me on, and at critical times they have stepped in and walked awhile with me.  I am very grateful for all of the support and help they have given me this year.    I know I wouldn’t be here today writing this blog if it hadn’t been for these special people and for God’s constant presence.   I am humbled by grace and love.
It’s Christmas time.  Brian reminded me of how close it is in his Facebook posting earlier this week.  I am also constantly reminded of it every time I go for a walk in Monroe or shop in our local Walmart.   The commercialism bothers me more this year than in previous seasons- I’m not sure why, but it does.  I search for the true meaning of Christmas, and wonder why we put so much emphasis on a birth and on Santa Claus, when it was the life of Jesus - his teaching and sacrifice - that revealed God’s true self to us.   I am confused. 
I will keep searching for Christmas.  I know it’s out there somewhere.