I woke to a new layer of snow this morning. The weatherman said it would be coming. It is indeed beautiful, as I watch from the window just before dawn has made her entrance. Everyone else is still asleep, so it is peaceful and still. Well, that is, except the knock, knock, knock and occasional chirp of our friendly, neighborhood flicker.
As I watch, enjoying the serenity, I also observe that not everyone is happy. Skeeter appears to be a bit angry at the newly fallen snow, this morning. He can’t get to the grass. He is pawing, pawing, pawing; desperately trying to dig it all away. He finally gives up and lies down to roll. But I don’t think that quite did it for him either. He gets up abruptly, tosses his head, and throws out a couple of kicks, ending with rearing on his hind legs and slapping at the wind with his front hooves. His is the only temper tantrum that is ever fun to watch. “It isn’t time for breakfast yet, Old Boy. And if you continue acting like this, your tantrum won’t be fun for much longer, either.”
I tried to make the morning coffee only to find there is none. Hmmmm. That simple fact pretty much analogizes this past year. Everything was just about right, but with an edge to it; not quite complete; not quite comfortable. Actually even that isn’t quite accurate; it was just plain and simply a doggone hard year. I’m not sorry to see it end.
It’s difficult not to reflect this time of year, with the new one beginning just a few days from today. We are almost trained as a culture to do so…reflect that is. And so today, that is how things started for me. I woke at 5:30, pleased to see it was at least that late as I looked at our illuminated digital clock. If it had been any earlier, I would have tossed and turned, trying to go back to sleep, until I was alert enough to realize that if I could not go back to sleep, then I actually could use the time to pray. As I looked at the clock, I was also encouraged by the fact that we are now about 7 days past the shortest day of the year; and with each new day, daylight will be ever-so-slightly increased. And hey! I am a believer that moments count! Spring is on the way!
This morning, as my thoughts turn toward the end of 2010, I realize that it will not be long now until Matt graduates and moves on into his own life. This is really where my mind is focused more and more often these days. No worries. I do know it is a beginning, and not an ending; it's the beginning of Matt’s life on his own, but it is also the beginning of our new life as empty nesters. Not that we are in any hurry for him to leave; he is welcome to stay here as long as he needs before he is really ready to spread those wings; but I am cognizant of the fact that things are indeed changing; and that is exactly as it should be. This past year held growth and learning experiences for Matt; and the fullness of understanding of who he really is for his Mom and Dad. We saw him make right choices but not without the struggle of decision. It’s sad and it’s happy as he moves forward. It’s life. A lot like this past year and I guess this change that is coming brings a little more introspection of our life as 2010 comes to an end.
There were indeed a lot of difficult aspects to our year. We lost a number of loved ones; my sister said it best of one, “The Silver Valley is missing a main gypo.” In that same vein which she so poetically composes, I will say to those that remember the northwest timber - a great cedar also fell with the setting of the sun. He, too, is greatly missed.
We learned friends had been stricken with serious illness, three of whom would not overcome, and we also shared grief with family members who were the recipients of an extremely difficult diagnosis. A family member experienced a serious injury; we lost beloved animals, and probably wasted precious time. But we also experienced triumphs like promotions and accommodations for Matt, but more importantly we watched as he made wise decisions and accepted new challenges. We experienced tender moments - like receiving a precious letter from a loved one affirming her love, appreciation and memories; and we were offered kind heartfelt compliments given only because someone cared. We experienced a temper tantrum from one, but grace and forgiveness from another. We watched faint-hearted fickleness fade into the hope of life learned well. We gained new friends and reconnected with old ones. We connected with the past in a good and healthy way, as we looked toward and planned for the future. We sacrificed, we gleaned. We gave up and we gained hold. We did indeed experience the highs and lows of life. Though we know it shouldn’t be so, the lows did seem to dominate this year. Was that just a frame of mind? Maybe; but it sure doesn’t feel that way. But I guess how one handles adversity is what is important in the end. I know I don't always do well. But I do know focusing on despair is not a right attitude, so along with my guys, we hold on tight to all that is good and forge forward with hope.
And yes, this past year, we sometimes went without; but compared to most of the world we lived abundantly. Yep, it was happy and it was sad. It was life, but never without our Hope. This past year was all very much like a peaceful morning after a storm, with snow that softens the earth in beauty while friendly flickers say hello. The only thing is, you know you eventually have to shovel. But that is exactly as it should be. The moment is worth it. At least this past year was for the most part without temper tantrums. And yeah, a beautiful morning indeed, but simply without the coffee. That is certainly nothing for which one should complain. We choose Hope.