The house is quiet. Son Number Two is at work and everyone else is asleep. As usual, I'm the first one up (if lying on the couch reading a book, covered in puppies, counts as being up). Outside the air is balmy and a mist has obscured the street. When I open the door to let Brio out, there's the smell of rain on autumn leaves.
There's only one thing left to put on the advent calendar. Tomorrow is Christmas, and two days after that Son Number One and his family will be heading back home. It has been a joy to have them here, to see my sons joking and playing card games together. They went out and got haircuts together, and went to dinner at the Mandarin. It's all right that they aren't staying forever; they have their own family unit, their own paths to pursue. But it has been nice just for a few brief days to be complete again.
This is the time of year when we all start thinking of goals for the coming year. The last few years have not turned out quite how I anticipated. One year brought nothing but hardship after hardship, so I followed that with a "year to recover," when I didn't expect much of myself but ended up accomplishing more than I'd expected. Then my purported "year of health" actually brought more health struggles than I've ever had before. My subsequent "year of being nice to myself" was more peaceful, though I've walked a fine line between being kinder to myself and being completely indolent. I've been learning to accept things as they come, even if they're not what I would have wanted. I've had to learn to limit my expectations of myself at times and ask for help more than in the past, and I've even said no on occasion. And I'm just beginning to accept that I may not do everything I had hoped to do in my life, but that what I have done is pretty okay too. I guess it's something most people hit at my age -- the realization that life is not limitless, that my life might be small or at least lived on smaller terms than I'd once thought, but that small can be a good thing. A quiet life lived in contentment and gratitude is a valuable thing and still contributes to the universe.
So here I am, granted with the beginning of another year. What do I focus on this time?
I recently read a posting on line by a woman who has had or adopted twenty children. She said some days she gives 10% and some days she gives 90%, but the Lord always makes up the difference and has her back. I feel a tug at my spirit along similar lines---I am still facing health challenges and need to be patient with myself, but on the days I can give more, I need to. And then I need to trust in the Lord to make up the difference. Trust. Patience. Contentment. Gratitude. I think those will be my watch-words for 2015.