In honor of 2015, I thought I’d host a little bloghop on the topic: “Your Guiding Word for 2015”. If you want to participate all you gotta do is grab the linky code (yes, that’s what it is called) at the bottom of this post, insert it at the bottom of your post in the HTML code section of your blog’s editor, and join in. If none of that makes sense to you then here’s some handy-dandy instructions from someone who took the time to explain it: http://www.blogaholicnetwork.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-add-your-link-and-join-a-blog-hop-1)
May I have a Word With You?
I was born five days before Christmas. I got engaged to my husband on Christmas. We had our first child on Christmas Day. I conceived our second child on Christmas Eve. Then there were all the Christmases of my children’s childhood. Those were the magical years when they believed in Santa and woke us up at 4am to open presents. I have enough sweet memories from those years alone to fill even the longest and loneliest of old ages. Four Christmases ago my mother died in my home. She always loved Christmas.
Christmas seven years ago I didn’t realize that our little nuclear family Christmas would be in fact our last. I made cioppino that year and we went to the evening Christmas Eve service at the church where we all served. My husband and daughter and son performed Silent Night and Mary Did You Know? while I smiled beatifically–okay, and maybe with just a little spiritual smugness–from the pews. On that Christmas I was still the dutiful conservative Christian evangelical homeschool mom, my husband was the deacon, and both of my children seemed, at least to me, still firmly tucked under my wing. Only God could have known that one year later I would leave our Southern Baptist church in a feminist outrage, my daughter would be married to a man who came out of nowhere, my mother and her hefty sack full of financial and health problems would be living with us, and my son would be forging his own way far from my heart.
If I’d picked a word that Christmas seven years ago that I would have thought could speak to the coming year it might have been ‘service’ or possibly even ‘purity’. Who knows? Regardless, it would have been the wrong word because I had NO IDEA what was coming.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
Three Christmases ago I thought my husband and I were finally figuring out life together in our empty nest. Maybe that seems melodramatic, but it’s not like the Christmases after the cioppino had been easy ones what with the wedding, a terrifying teenage rebellion, and a death, but we’d put up a tree that year, bought new pajamas, and accepted that we’d both turned 50.
New Year’s Day of 2012 would bring unhappy surprises for both of us and a marriage crisis that took us to the brink of divorce.
If I’d picked a word on December 30th, 2011 that I believed would speak to 2012 I would have sold my year woefully short. I couldn’t have possibly imagined how horrifically magical 2012 was going to be.
By Christmas 2012 my husband and I were down to seeing one therapist and I was almost entirely healed from my hysterectomy and vaginal vault reconstruction. Together we made a wise decision about our upside down mortgage, I quit my terrible job, and my husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate. That Christmas the future seemed so bright I bought a new pair of Dolce Gabbana shades.
Help! My life is being eaten by my Blog!
In 2013, towards the end of the Generation Fabulous freight train, while sitting in a hotel room in Atlanta at the Type A conference, I accidentally published a rambling, partially-finished, incomprehensibly nonsensical Xanax-fueled draft of desperation. It was something to do about what happens when your dreams all turn to shit. I’ll admit it. It was probably a cry for help. I know I was terribly miserable and I’d reached the end of the money I was willing to throw away so that someone else could sit at the cool kids’ table. I also knew by that point that if I didn’t keep performing as the dancing pony for their show that there would be a serious emotional price to pay. Despite the tears of 2014, I am happy I paid it.
Turns out, a blog, which can be a very useful and fun tool, is a terrible task-master.
Rule #1: Blogging should never take the place of a real life.
And so in 2014, armed with the knowledge that I was not put on this earth to live for blogging, I set out on a journey towards living a purpose-driven life. I took up travel nursing, and we walked away from our house.
2014 has been a year of discovering purpose and meaning. I cut my losses, and my husband and I made substantial plans for a stable future. This year has been about strengthening my marriage, becoming a grandmother, and exploring what it means being a better mother of adult children.
2014 has ended on a high note. But then that’s what I would have said on Christmas of 2006 and 2011.
Perspective–Use it or Lose it. Richard Bach
It’s snowing tonight and my heart feels as light and free as these snowflakes floating down into my yard. Long time readers know that there was a time in the not-so-distant past when a snowstorm could propel me into bleak despondency.
What’s changed? Certainly it’s not the snow itself, which is as cold, white and quiet as ever. But the fact that we had so precious little of it last year here in Northern California certainly has had an impact on my perspective about snow. California can’t have another year of no snow without facing very serious environmental consequences. Therefore, with a new perspective about the importance of snow to the state’s water table, and a deepening appreciation for my own relative unimportance in global meteorological matters, I rejoice in this snow and pray and hope for more to come. Lots more.
And maybe some more double rainbows. 2014 brought me some of those, too.
I open my arms to 2015. I have no idea what is in store for me and mine in this coming year. What I do hope is that I will embrace it with the sort of perspective that one can only have after living 53 years. I know from hard-won experience that sometimes the shittiest things that happen to us turn out to be the best. God is always in the business of turning the burnt ashes of our dreams into something beautiful. And useful. Always useful, because a life that is not useful is not worth living.
God, I pray that in this coming year I will live a life that is useful.
To you and yours, a Happy New Year! God bless. And if you’ve written a post of reflection of the past or hope for the future please join in by adding your link below.