Another new year! An opportunity for a fresh start! A time to review the past year including our dreams and hopes, the times that were disappointing, the experiences that were satisfying or meaningful. It’s definitely a chance to ponder our lives and to look at our personal growth, the person we think we are, the person we really are, and the person we would like to become.
Looking back over the past year, I know it has been one of the most difficult years of my life. I spent much of the year in hospitals, treatment and rehab centers, and with 24/7 caregivers battling the rare paraneoplastic syndrome. But that’s not the whole story. As I consider this past year in an honest and truthful way, I know that it was a year of deep meaning, of incredible friendships and support, of second or even third chances. So I want to consider some important questions for myself. Perhaps you might want to think about them too.
* Have I been truly present and living in the moment?
* Have I been paying attention to what is going on in life?
* Have I held on to hope when the hours were the darkest for me?
* Who or what helped me to grow especially when I felt discouraged or afraid?
* Have I been there for the people who needed me – even when I was not at my best?
I know that when I am open to the little gifts of life, I can feel joy and pleasure. The last couple of days I’ve experienced some amazing “little joy gifts” that have touched my heart: meeting my very talented doctors at Mayo Clinic, having old friends and family visit me to help me get settled in my new cottage, meeting many compassionate and loving people in my new home town in Penney Farms Florida, going with my physical therapist into the swimming pool and realizing that with the support of the water I can actually walk without holding on (!!!), feeling enchanted by the live oak trees with Spanish moss that grow around my home, finding new roads that wind along the beautiful St. John’s River, seeing the first set of birds discover my new birdfeeder in my backyard. Yes, ordinary things, but sheer joy for me!
At the end of 2014 and the start of 2015, I also need to think about my relationship with the Divine. In this New Year, I want to experience and share hope with others, feel deeply God’s Presence in my life, and draw closer to God’s heart. As Joyce Rupp says it so well in her prayer “Standing at the Gates of the New Year.”
Guardian of this New Year,
I set aside my fears, worries, concerns,
I open my life to the endless opportunity
of discovering you in my relationships,
and to all the silent wisps of wonder
that will draw me to your heart.
I welcome your unfailing Presence
and walk with hope into this new year.
That says it real well for me. I hope it does for you too.
Divine Creator, as we approach this New Year, we thank you for the opportunity to take stock and to start afresh. May we set aside our fears and concerns and be open to the wonder of the world. Help us to learn to be more open to the gifts and opportunities in life and to walk in hope with you throughout this New Year. Help us to renew our hearts and souls knowing that You are our constant Companion, that you encourage us to grow, and that we have another chance to become the people we are meant to be. Amen.