I think I'm starting to calm down a little in my manic desire to make sure 2009 is better than 2008.
I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that 2008 was a very bad year--one filled with family sickness, deaths of family members and dearly-loved piano teachers, and betrayal by a long-loved friend that dragged on...and dragged on...and dragged on...for the entire year. (It was like reliving some kind of "death" everyday.)
Long story short, I'm tired of crying....I'm tired of this sometimes-overwhelming sadness at what has been lost....I'm tired of sighing....I'm tired of worrying about those I love who are hurting even worse than me....I'm tired of missing my friend.
I want everything to go back to how it was before this nightmare began. There are still days when, out of the blue, the thought will cross my mind, "I'm gonna wake up and this will all be a very bad dream."...I'm tired of not "waking up."...I'm tired of wondering, "What if...?"
But, as each day brings a little more perspective, I can see that 2008 was also filled with uncountable little graces. Everyday (that I would let Him), Jesus was right there with me--weeping on the floor, crying in my pillow, screaming to the air. He showed up in the pages of His Word, in the comforting hugs from my honey and boys (whose hearts were also breaking over the losses we were experiencing--they just weren't as needy as me), in messages from friends (who didn't even know what was going on)--who just said I had been on their minds, and they wanted me to know they were praying for me and loved me. (Sometimes we are Jesus to each other.) In my almost-year-long grief, God has shown up in ways I would have never experienced without the pain.
I haven't gotten the answers I SO LONG for. I don't know that I ever will, although I still pray for them everyday (and, truth be told, most days I still cry).
Today, in particular, I feel like I'm the only one who's holding on to this little glimmer of hope that anything can be restored if we're willing to do the hard work of trying...the hard work of obeying the voice of the One who has called us, the One who has died for us. If I could, I'd do "hope CPR" on those whose hope has died. But, I can't. And, perhaps, I'm the one who's wrong--that's one of those many "what ifs".
This week, in that new devotional I bought, I ran across a Psalm I'd never read before. (You think that's worth breaking the promise to myself not to buy any new books?). It summed up my 2008 journey through this "valley of Baca":
"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the valley of Baca (weeping), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength, until each appears before God in Zion." (Psalm 84:5-7)