Looking back and looking ahead...
2008 has been a good year.
There have been great joys, laughs, warm hugs, soul-stirring conversations.
There have been days of victory and triumph, music and dance, food and wine.
There has been love and peace and joy and harmony and reconciliation.
2008 has been a tough year.
There have been many tears and much grief.
I have lost friendships and relationships.
I have been abandoned, forgotten, and rejected.
I have seen friends lose loved ones and lose themselves.
2009 is just a few hours away.
When 2007 was a few hours away, I was in Madrid.
Same thing at the start of 2008.
And I remember distinctly, last year in Madrid,
a year ago today, thinking,
"Gail, enjoy this. You won't be back here for a while.
Things in your life are going to change. Big time."
The Spirit spoke clearly to me. I heard. And took it to heart.
I enjoyed those days there. With friends. In solitude.
Walking. Journaling. Taking photos. Reading.
Watching. Listening. Learning. Growing.
(Os echo de menos, Eduardo, Leti, Alvaro, y Marta.)
All of those walks, those prayers, those thoughts
prepared me for this moment in my life.
All the walks and talks and journal entries and classes and retreats
and books and times of prayer and fasting and meditation
I have ever taken or experienced,
they have all prepared me for this moment in my life.
For such a time as this.
The beginning of a new year, a new support system,
a new way of living, a new kind of faith.
Newness of life.
Looking back and looking ahead,
God has been good.
He has provided for us.
He has protected us.
It hasn't always looked like what we want it to look like,
or felt like what we want to feel.
But it is what it is.
My nephew, who flew back to New York yesterday after spending several days with us, said this to us a couple of days ago:
"We walk not by sight, sense, or circumstance.
We walk by faith, Spirit, and The Word."
I want to thank a few of you who have held on to faith and hope for me of late when I have not had the strength to hang on. Especially Jen, Lisa, Karen, Matthew, Jill, Alejandra, Amy, Shelby, Leonie, Laurie, Jena, Katie, Wendy, Debby, Val, Sara, Melodee, Otis, Joy, Robin, Raquel, and Steve. Just to name a few.
The old truth is new truth.
It is still truth.
All shall be well.
All shall be well.
All manner of things shall be well.
*Two of the photos seen in the post are of plaques outside of the children's library here in Charlotte.
The third is of the cover of the journal I began on November 2nd of this year.
I had no idea how prophetic that title would be -
Life as we then knew it is not the life we now live.