New Year's Peace
January 1, 2014
A new year has dawned for us all. For me, it began quietly and quite early. I took Rooney for a first morning walk and realized the day promised to be damp and grey with rain, arriving in the late afternoon or early evening.
No matter how we tried to bundle in warm clothing, share morning coffee by the fireplace or even, pull out and crawl under a favorite blanket, we felt the chill. Instead of the expected joy and anticipation of the new year filled with new joys and memories, my heart seemed to beat with a steady melancholy rhythm. My thoughts wanted to linger with those no longer here on Earth whom I continue to miss daily. I made a concerted effort to redirect my thoughts to a place of gratitude and positive goal making for 2014, but in spite of my efforts, a silent blanket of sadness wrapped itself securely around my heart. I wondered how our human nature has a flaw for creating thoughts, independently of our own wishes, that seem to weigh us down.
As we rode through town to run a few errands, we noticed the totally empty streets. They added to the emptiness I had been feeling all morning. As we rode, I prayed. I simply found the words to say, "I do not understand why sadness fills me today, Lord, but it is here. I ask you to love me through this and redirect my thoughts."
Another year has arrived without my mom and dad, their brothers and sisters and our grandparents. The list seems endless and grows as we age and grow closer to our own destiny. We continued with our check list of things we needed to do today.
I began hearing lines from one of my favorite hymns. I learned it from listening to Emmy Lou Harris' rendition.
Where can I go?
Oh where can I go, seeking the refuge for my soul?
Needing a friend to help me to the end,
Where can I go but to the Lord?
Again, I prayed. "God, this sadness that blankets my heart will not leave me. Grief has come, again, uninvited and unexpected. It arrived with the early morning. Comfort me and all those who feel great sadness today. Families are searching for missing loved ones. Prayers are being whispered for those who linger near death. Others have recently had to whisper goodbye to someone they love. Only you can feel our sadness. Only you can dry our tears. Only you can comfort those who cannot push grief away. Amen"
We arrived home and I crawled up under my favorite electric lap blanket in my recliner and near the front window. I continued my study of Romans, "Understanding God's Grace and Power." My mind seemed to wander as I struggled to absorb the lesson on Chapters 9-11.
Within a few moments, I dosed off into a welcomed sleep, a respite for my heart, mind and soul. When I woke, the day had not changed. The cold, damp, greay day continues outside my window and winter's chill insists on creeping inside the walls of our home.
When I woke from my "senior nap" my thoughts were calm. I found myself thinking about a package I need to mail to Allison tomorrow and what time we will have dinner this evening. The difference came in my immediate sense of calm and peace and even a sweet joy! I sense a smile at this totally unexplainable shift in my mindset as I walk in faith.
The blanket of sadness no longer holds me in a thought pattern of grief for those I can no longer hold in my arms. Yes, I miss them, as always. But God has brought me gifts of comfort and peace. I am able to gather my thoughts and write, which l love to do, with a sense that God heard my prayers. My dad and mom used to love to address my youthful dilemmas with, "This too shall pass!" My response was a deep sigh followed by frustration when they did not solve life's problems for me. Now, I am smiling, realizing their wisdom. So often we want life to immediately adjust itself to our needs, but that will not happen. I see, once again, my parents wisdom.
The sadness I felt this morning has passed. God has replaced it with peace and joy and hope and contentment. I look forward to a blessed and wonderful new year filled with challenges and rewards. I anticipate wonderful opportunities to continue my growth in faith. What lies ahead for me in 2014? I do not know, for certain. But I find my peace in God.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Dear Heavenly Father,
I am more aware each day how you listen to our prayers throughout our day. You know the plans for our future and you shelter us in your loving comfort, peace and grace. We have nothing to fear in your love for you are always with us.
In Jesus' Name,