The last one of 2011 . . .
For a minute there, I couldn't sign in. That's frustrating--not that I have that much to say, but still, it is Dec. 31 and I needed one "last hurrah."
2011 has been quite a year! It has been a year of profound loss, but also a year of profound blessing. We lost my beloved Tom and we all feel it: children, grandchildren, friends and most especially me. In spite of the loss I have had the time to reflect on the memories and to count my blessings. I was loved by an incredible man and for that I am incredibly grateful. I have returned to my adopted homeland of Mississippi. It has been bittersweet to be back in the state where Tom and I met, married and lived most of our life together. So many places remind me of him and they usually make me smile. I moved away from some good friends in Tennessee, but closer to my dear friends in Jackson, MS and I am making new friends where we are now. My health remains stable and my oncologist is optimistic that this nasty cancer can be held at bay. In comparison, other issues are inconsequential. The lingering question remains: why has God allowed me all these unexpected days? I know we are not to ask such things.
I know that tomorrow much be the Sunday after Christmas because I'm preaching. The "extra pastors" as some designated us at FOPC always get the Sundays after Christmas and Easter. But, hey, I'm not complaining. I'm more than happy to have the opportunity. I remember saying one year at Fair Oaks that I had preached every Sunday after Christmas since I began preaching my second year in seminary. One dear, prejudiced friend, sitting right down front started clapping. I'll never forget that Sunday--or the friend, for that matter.
We've had a quiet New Year's Eve--just like I like. Our friend John and his son came out to watch football and eat supper. We grilled steaks and ate dessert left over from earlier in the holidays. Afterwards, we went outside and legally shot fireworks, though I admit that I have never liked fireworks. In California they were everywhere!! I was always afraid that a spark would ignite the cedar shakes on our roof and we'd burn to the ground. They have been illegal within the city limits everywhere else we've lived, but now we're in the country. Tommy did the the actual lighting and the rest of us watched--except of the little ones, who ran in circles between displays. I still think I prefer watching the display on the 4th of July celebration on the Washington Mall. The colors are pretty and the noise isn't as great.
I leave you with a thought from Ezra for the New Year. In chapter seven it says that Ezra commited himself to studying the Revelation of God, to practicing its teaching and to teaching it to others. That, coupled with Ezra's belief that worship was central to being identified as people of God, combines to make a worthy resolution/commitment for the new year. It's a challenge for me and one I offer as a suggestion for you as well. I've never been a resolution maker, but Ezra inspired me. Will you join me? "I commit in 2012 to make worship central in my life; to study God's word; to practice what it teaches; and to teach it to others."
God bless you and Happy New Year!