Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Happy New Year

My husband and I agree that 2015 has been the fastest year of our lives.
It has absolutely flown past.
How is it that we are at December 31st already?
Whether or not we can explain it, here we are.
Looking back at a full and busy old year.
Staring a new year in the face.

There is so much to be grateful for.
People. Places. Names. Faces. Stories.
Meals. Trips. Clothing. Gifts.
Opportunities. Joys. Anniversaries. Birthdays.
Protection. Provision. Purpose.
We survived another year. I survived another year.
In good health. In good company. In good spirits.
It hasn't been the easiest year or the happiest year of my life.
But I made it. We made it.

As I sit here pondering this year that is coming to its end,
I remember many moments of sorrow, sadness and tears.
The horrible shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
The death of my Spanish mother, Marta.
The untimely death of my former neighbor's husband.
Too many kanswer diagnoses for too many people I know.
School shootings. Movie theaters. Malls. Playgrounds.
Innocent people gunned down, killed, or otherwise deceased without explanation or just cause.
Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray.
The refugee crises - in Africa, in Europe, right here in the Americas. People are on the move, running from torture and suffering.
Catastrophic floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other (un)natural disasters.
The rise of Trumpism in our country and the violence and racism and prejudice that his fear-mongering has unleashed.
Too many other sorrows to name.

I remember reasons for joy and gratitude too.
The birth of my first grand-nephew, Myles.
Two more on the way - all three of my oldest brother's children were expecting babies at the same time. One has arrived - and two more will arrive in February and April.
I started seminary.
The "royal" wedding of my dear friend's only daughter.
We hosted the bridal shower for another friend's daughter.
Another fantastic trip to Spain.
I've had two chances to preach and several other chances to teach at my church.
Hugs, tears, laughter and stories with people I met at the Loaves and Fishes pantry.
My daughter emerged from a terrible car accident without serious injury.
The confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina state house.
Reading so many fantastic books and hearing one of the authors speak at Davidson - TaNehisi Coates is an inspiring and a challenging writer and thinker.
President Obama survived another year without an assassination attempt by a deranged fear-fueled racist. (Believe me, I am not alone in marveling that he has lasted this long without coming under attack.)
I got to sit and talk to Cornel West about racism and injustice and history and the future- like old friends.
New friends, mentors, pastors, and soul sisters.
Being called "clergy" for the first time.
An absolutely fantastic, life-changing, marriage-rebuilding week in Hilton Head in September.
I turned 50!
Too many joys to name.

And there are also the shining moments that emerged from the dark moments.
Getting started with We Walk Together after We Need to Talk after the shooting in Charleston.
Getting to know an amazingly funny and determined and courageous young mom not long after she was diagnosed with breast kanswer - and being able to walk some of her journey with her. She is kanswer-free now and on vacation with her spectacularly beautiful family.
Walking another friend through the pain of deciding whether to remarry after a difficult divorce.
Watching two young people I love emerge stronger than ever from challenges faced at college.

I am thankful this Thursday to have made it to this Thursday.
There are many, many people who were around when 2015 began, but who are not alive today.
I am thankful for the gift of life itself, the gift of breath, the gift of a body that still seems to know how to keep me alive and active.

I am grateful that you are here with me, reading, thinking, finding reasons to be grateful for the blessings in your own life.

I am enormously grateful for this day, for this moment, for this opportunity to look back and look ahead. With joy. With hope. With peace. With love.
Thanks be to God.
My deepest thanks.

Happy New Year!


Anna said...

Gail, I am thankful that I found your blog within this past week! I am thankful for all I've already learned from your honest, beautiful writing. thank you! happy new year. :)

GailNHB said...

Happy new year to you, Anna. I'm glad you found your way here. I am grateful for your kind words of encouragement.

Peace be with you.