The beginning of any calendar year creates opportunities to look ahead. It marks an end and a beginning. Wise words come to us all. Memories flood back. We think about all that we have been through in 365 days. We consider who we have become, what parts of us are new and what parts we are tired of and want to change. It is our universal opportunity to start fresh, or if there is no need for that, to continue on with what we already have.
What I have is impossible to give proper credit to. What I have is a marriage that sees me through all my happy and terrible moments. I have a husband who was so supportive through our 6 week stint apart while he did a placement in Calgary and I stayed to work in Camrose. I have a husband who goes to great lengths to make a 12 hour greyhound trip turned 18 hour trip survivable with chocolate oranges, pasta salad, movies, books, pillows, blankets and beautiful conversation. On top of that I have a father whose text messages in this time apart from my husband to show both his care and his nervousness for all the winter driving we had to do.
I feel more and more that I have the strength to bear the things that are challenging in my life, the 18 hour greyhound trip perhaps being the most harrowing of them all.
I have my family who misses me back home. This is a dream realized by the youngest child of 4: that you are truly missed. I have Robbie’s family who are perhaps the most spirited and loving in-laws you can imagine.
I have a great job. Although it drains me sometimes to the core, I cannot imagine another way of spending my 8-4 (at minimum mind you.) I have a beautiful, cozy home that overflows with tea and baking now coming out at an accelerated rate due to my beloved stand mixer. I have food on my table, food that is healthy when I want it to be and decadent when I want it to be since I am the cook. I have a faithful car, that always seems to redeem itself and keeps chugging along, even in the most terrible of situations.
I have a voice, one that I’ve managed to hone right here. I have a faith that has not only made all of this possible, but gives meaning to it as well.
But what if it were to all be taken away from me?
I have spent a considerable amount of time in the last 2 months or so considering the frailness of life. With several winter drives in this period I can’t help but think about worse case scenarios. Living with Robbie 300 km away during the weeks as the cause of many these drives was certainly no great joy.
Often these fears will manifest themselves not in enjoyment of my current situation as any true optimist would do, but in an all enveloping fear that would cause my mind to cease, my heart rate to quicken, my palms to sweat and my imagination to plunge into all sorts of horrors.
At the dawn of this year, 2013, I was saddened to find that my thoughts were still going in this direction. For all the joys of Christmas, I was still left with these looming dark, cloudy thoughts. I was determined to make sense of it. After speaking with my husband and with my God (not one and the same mind you) I have some sense of where my distress comes from.
Yes, we all have fears. My greatest involve the loss of those I love the most. It is rooted in knowing from a young age howthis profoundly affects someones life. I heard my mother speak of her father, who she lost when she was around my age. She would tell me countless stories about him when I was a little girl. They would make her happy and sad at the same time. Then, she would often relay that there was a hole in her heart that no one else could fill but her Dad and that she would always miss him no matter how much time had passed.
I fear this reality.
I can respond in one of two ways. I can let myself go into a panic about potential tragedies. I often do and likely will continue to do so.
Slowly, I have begun to consider the second way. Any aching my heart may do in the future is well worth the time spent and invested now with every person I love. I do not want to become immobilized by the possibility of what loving someone else can do in my unpredictable, ever-changing future. Rather, I must see the blessing that fear of the unknown shows us. That I have loved and been loved courageously enough to consider it a great loss.
And yet, these holes are only earthly. I know without a doubt that there is great glory waiting for us when we leave this earth. Then every crevice, every crack, every hole in our heart will be filled with redeeming, impermeable light fit only for our heavenly dwelling. We will be more alive than ever. We will be with everyone we ever loved and the creator of all things good Himself.
Even on earth, there is hope for recovery, for new joys and new life to diminish the sting of loss. Not to replace it, but to sing our souls back into life.
So what I have, is not about what I own or possess on this earth or what I may add in the next 365 days. The greatest pearl I carry through life is this great, glorious knowledge.