This is my 66th Christmas Day. Although I can vaguely remember the details, long ago I had plans and goals for where I would be in life and how I would measure success. Dim memories. Today I find myself satisfied with being a good way toward better.
My quick browse through social media this morning reflected where most of us find ourselves at the end of a year where a pandemic dominated our thoughts and muted our expectations. Realistic perspectives but not ones, surprisingly, punctuated with despair.
Instead of sadness, I read of hope, gratitude, connection, and love.
Looking back on 2020, I can’t say that I handled all of it well. I am thankful that the year did handle me in very positive ways. I’ve never been home more than I have been this year. I’ve never appreciated more the longing to be physically present with others. I’ve never before slowed down enough to be content in regard to worldly things or to thirst so deeply for the spiritual and the meaningful.
What a wonderful year of reconnection with Nancy! I was reminded daily of the blessing she is. Not only to me but countless others. I am grateful, and frankly, amazed that I have been fortunate enough to share a life with her.
It has been a year of suffering, as well. We have seen that suffering on a worldwide stage. But most of us have experienced it first hand.
We lost my Mom this year — just days ago. A peaceful passing yet not as we thought it might be. Our experience was like that of many in this time of quarantine and isolation. Not there. Awaking to a phone call with the news. At a loss of what to do next or who to go to. The assurance of support and love from family and friends. Distance grieving. And for some of our friends, that distance was only a matter of a few feet and a slender hospital wall. Still so far away.
I’ve always heard that wisdom comes from age and experience. There is truth to that. But perhaps the age and the experience are merely the natural brakes of life, slowing us to see and reflect and love.
Next year at this time, I hope I can again say that I’m a good way toward better. And I pray that you can, too.