Monday, September 08, 2014

Coming up on ten years of blogging about my life's journey

Yup, you read that right. I've been doing this for nearly ten years. Telling stories. Sharing photos. Asking questions. Trying to live into the answers.

I just spent a little over an hour looking at the archives of the ten Octobers (I began this blog on October 1, 2004) in which I've been blogging and chose a post from each of those months to link to here. A "favorites list" of sorts. A list of pieces that were relevant at the time but also that were pointing the way to this moment, this hour, this life I live in September of 2014.

October 2013 - Coming to the finish line - does "the finish line" even exist? Will I know when I've crossed it? Do I want to know? Do I even want a finish line to exist? I may be done with breast kanswer treatment, but breast kanswer is not done with teaching me lessons and giving me answers to some of my deepest questions. Hence my decision to spell it this way - kanswer.

October 2012 - Everybody's got something -  I had no idea of the HUGE something I was going to encounter less than three weeks after writing that piece and how my life would be altered in theretofore unimaginable ways. I was about to embark on my own "worst of times." And now, looking back, I recognize that it was also one of my "best of times."

October 2011 - Looking back ten years - I am continually humbled and awed and overwhelmed with gratitude for this wonder-filled life I've lived. Ten years before I wrote that piece, I had taken my first trip to Italy. I have been enormously blessed with a lifetime of adventures, flights, bus rides, train trips, road trips to beauty-filled, mysterious, faith-expanding places. My gratitude for these many journeys and the ways in which each one has shaped me into the woman I am now is boundless.

October 2010 - What I need, what I feel, what I want - most of the questions and longings and hunger and thirst that I describe in that piece still exist within me. This past Saturday, I sat with some friends from church and as Pen prayed, he used the phrase, "a hunger we cannot name." I pulled out my notebook and wrote that down - during prayer. That unnamed and unnameable hunger gnaws at my soul every day.

October 2009 - Wanting it both ways and getting it - I want to give and receive. I want to love and be loved. I want to leave and I want to stay. Sometimes I can have both, and sometimes I cannot. The goal is to practice gratitude no matter what.

October 2008 - I wish you... I love the photos in that piece, images of us celebrating our life together... not knowing about the huge challenge just ahead. Each of us has gone through moments in life that have served as markers on our life calendars - before and after this moment. Our own BC (before crisis) and AD (after deliverance). I would like to add a new dating category, IC - In Crisis. On November 15, 2008, we had one of those moments in our family, one of those IC moments that defined who we are as a foursome. This piece reminds me to celebrate life right now, this moment, no matter what category I find myself in. Isn't there always a challenge ahead - and many reasons to be thankful right now???

October 2007 - The now and the not yet... As I reread that post, I realize now that it was a piece of prophetic writing. Storms were raging in the world then. Storms continue to rage. Fears rise and fall. As do illness, the economy, flood waters in India, deaths by gunshot, acts of war, and incidents of domestic abuse. Just to name a few. I continue to turn to God in prayer and ask, "Don't you care that we are drowning? That the world is falling apart?" The answer I hear most often is this: "Do you care, Gail, that so many people in the world are drowning and hurting and hungry and lonely and afraid? If you care, what are you gonna do about it?"

October 2006 - She fell off her high horse - and into my heart. My sweet daughter fell off her horse at her horseback riding lesson. Broke my heart. And that minor crisis deepened my preparation for the major fall that she would take two years and one month later.

October 2005 - But will it make a difference? Absolutely. It will and it does. Every hug, every note, every kind word, every home-cooked meal, every moment of full attention given to another person, every shared sorrow, every smile, every tender and loving gesture makes a difference. Always has and always will.

October 2004 - The day it all began - I had no idea this blogging adventure would last this long. I have no idea how much longer it will last, but I will keep on writing and sharing my stories for as long as I am able.

One thing I know for sure is that I am enormously glad that I have kept this online record of my life. I am grateful for the ways in which this blog has caused me to live my life more attentively and intentionally.

I am grateful for the many truly wonderful people I have met through blogging and for the ways in which my rantings and raving here continue to connect me with remarkable men and women. I found out this morning that a woman who googled the name of a deceased mutual friend found my blog, reached out to me, and became a sweet email-virtual-kindred spirit died in February. Even though she and I never met in person, our relationship with our mutual friend bonded us in unexpected ways. I will miss that woman that I never met, and I will be ever grateful that she found me and that we shared a few months of funny, insightful, gossipy reminiscences of our scoundrel of a mutual friend. May God give rest to both of their souls.

I am also grateful that I have kept a journal since 1985 or so. Hundreds of volumes of my life story. Thousands of pages of stories of my foolishness, God's goodness, the love of friends, adventures overseas, road trips, love, loss, death, birth, weddings, funerals, hopes, dreams, sorrow, joy, peace, faith, friends, books I've read, movies I've seen, food I've eaten, mistakes I've made, questions I've asked, advice I given and received, and every other doggone thing that has crossed my mind, shaped my soul, and infiltrated my heart.

I have wept abundantly.
I have laughed abundantly.
I have loved abundantly.
I have lived abundantly.
Here at home. At church.
With friends and family and strangers and The One Who Loves Me Most.
In the hospital. In doctor's offices. In chemo treatment rooms. In "behavioral health" units.
In New York City. San Francisco. Wernersville. Amherst. Atlanta. Greenville.
In Charlotte. Durham. New Canaan. Newtown. Norwalk. Watertown. Stamford.
In Rome. Firenze. Orvieto. Siena. Milan.
In Madrid. Sevilla. San Sebastian. Valladolid. Barcelona.
Is there any appropriate response to all of this other than gratefulness?
I think not.

Thanks be to God.

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