Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gentle hope for a new year

I've just finished peeling potatoes for dinner, and Simon and Garfunkel are playing on the computer.  Cuddled on my chest in the ring sling is our youngest at a still-very-fresh 7 weeks old.  It's New Year's Eve, and as usual, my heart is in the mood for some reflection.

For several people dear to me, 2014 was a hard year.  In some cases, harder than anyone should have to deal with, with tests of will and faith beyond belief.  For many, there were hard loses, and frustrating setbacks.  I watched those around me suffer with the challenges that life threw their way.  And if you ask them tonight, they can't wait for that clock to tick us right into 2015.

What they may not realize is how much they gave the rest of us this year.  Those of us for whom life was a little smoother, less potholes in the road.  Because while we held on and stayed the path, they showed us what it takes to really live the human experience.  They showed us what it takes to be brave and just get up every morning.  They modeled grace in the face of awful adversity.  They grew and strengthened their inner selves, and are leaving this year tougher and better than they started it.  And generously, they helped those of us watching grow a little more too.

I was one of the lucky ones this year.  My road was smooth, my path to walk this year was filled with sunshine and flowers. And it was only through the contrast with the darkness others were experiencing that I could see just how much light I was given.

This year my boys were healthy and strong, growing in their convictions and their knowledge.  They left two wonderful classrooms to join two more that are bringing them great joy. Dan left one good, solid, challenging job for another rich in opportunities he never expected.  I have gotten to share my work life with incredible students and their families, and my personal life with friends who are a warm blanket of support.  Our families are thriving and growing in their many journeys.

And in the biggest blessing of all, we welcomed our third child this fall.  In a very short time, he has had a major impact on our family.  He has helped us to slow down, to take in each moment.  Each new look or smile or coo draws us in and helps us to refocus on each other.  He has made his oldest brother gentler and more selfless, and helped his second brother find strength in having someone to guide.  While the 7 year gap was not what we probably ever would have planned, it has been a refreshing lesson in enjoying each moment because we know just how quickly they pass. 

It is this slower pace, this attention to the moment at hand that I hope for us to carry into the new year.  My word for this year (as I've chosen in the past) is content.  Not because I want to be lazy, but because I want to take the time and just be satisfied with all that I have been given.  In the constant search for the next, bigger, better thing to improve my life, I have often lost sight of just how great what I have truly is. So this year I'm going to work on curbing the wanting, the desiring for the thing out of reach. I am going to be content with all that I have right here.  Right now.

And for those for whom 2014 was awful, may this year be more gentle.  May the strength and resiliency that you have gained get to take a back seat for a while in exchange for some joy and peace.  I hope that wonderful things come to you and that your faith in the goodness of the world and of others can be restored.  And if the bumps keep coming, please let me be there for you.  Allowing me to travel your road along side would be a gift.


  1. Beautiful thoughts, my dear. You are an inspiration to me. Love you!

  2. Marian said it so well; you always inspire me to want to be more and to be better. I'm so happy that you are writing again.

  3. You are so good with words and say what so many of us are thinking. I'm glad to have you in my life to help me look at myself and want to grow. And content is a great that I could use too! Xoxo