I’m sure there are those of you out there ready to see 2013 leave, but things have been going well for me this year and I am a little sad to see it go ‑‑ unlike some other years.
To the best of my knowledge my children are doing well, which makes a mother happy.
I haven’t lost any close family members and no one in my immediate family has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease which alone is cause for celebration. If they had been, I’m sure we could rise to the occasion, but because they haven’t I’m most grateful.
Despite these gratitudes for some reason I’ve spent the whole year thinking about the families left behind from Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut (where a sniper wiped out 26 lives), from Hurricane Sandy and to the tsunami that recently swept the Philippines.
There continue to be stories in national publications about lives that were affected by each of those disasters; businesses from hurricane Sandy that face unending obstacles as they try to rebuild; elementary school parents whose grief is insurmountable; the despair that must be omnipresent in the Philippines. Even the disaster in Haiti was three years ago, and though billions of dollars have been spent there, recovery is still stalled.
I don’t think I go through a day without wondering how some of those families keep holding up.
On a personal note, I told my husband Tommy that this past year I feel like I’ve actually retired, though “retirement” has been my employment status for more than 20 years.
I don’t volunteer for as many organizations as I used to and seem to have caught up on making gifts for weddings, baby showers, etc. That may be in partly due to my advanced age.
I still enjoy cooking for functions when asked but feel that even that has been done on my terms. And while I have an occasional deadline or two to fill, most are of my own choosing.
And on a trivial note, there have been some really good books to read this year and some very good television to watch, even though most of the good television comes on Sunday night. I’m going to miss college and professional football games come January.
One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is a small, slim tree in my kitchen where we hang the photo Christmas cards we receive. It’s the first place my children visit when they come in the house and provides enjoyment for everyone.
One day last week the first card I opened offered greetings of “Peace, Joy and Love.”
The second offered “Peace, Love and Joy.”
Yet the third said “Celebrate Faith, Love, Family.”
I thought of the pain of those who have survived tragedies recently and wondered what they must feel when they read those words. How can you celebrate “Peace, Love and Joy” or celebrate anything when your loved ones have been victimized by tragedy?
The next card I opened read:
Son of God
Bread of Life
Prince of Peace
I then realized that is how you find comfort.
Even if you are not Christian and Christ is not your personal answer. One finds comfort by believing that some higher power will get you through.
Inside the last card above was a hand penned note by the friend who sent it that said: “With special memories of our days as neighbors together. Merry Christmas to you and your family.”
Those memories and those friendships are truly special, indeed.
I hope those suffering will truly find comfort in faith, family and friends, too.
'Til next year.