”New Year = New thoughts, New energy, New hope, New joy!”
Words from the ~♥~ of Noetic Alchemy
I’m sitting here quietly thinking about the past year and the new year to come. 2011 couldn’t end fast enough for us as it has been a kicker in many ways and swaying from one hospital visit to the next was really something that both of us have had enough of. Last Friday, when we were sitting in the Eye Casualty suite in Ashford Hospital after George (Paul’s cornea transplant he had almost 6 years ago) started really hurting, I turned round to Paul and said that we should try not to go to hospital again this year. George seems to be ok, it may have been conjunctivitus so that is a relief as he was told to return if the pain got any worse or the eye got red.
In times of adversity, I think I certainly found a new strength. Even though times have been hard, I’ve been able to do things that I could have only hoped to have done in the past such as passing my driving test, running my own businesses and being part of an art exhibition – all three of which I’m going to keep doing in some way or the other in 2012. I am ready now to find a more full-time job again but through the adversity, I realised that my work priorities have changed. I used to want to get a promotion and be influential and work my way up into a career but now all I want is to have enough. I have been inspired by this story of this man who has been giving away £50 notes to unsuspecting people in Devon. His note simply said :
“Happy Christmas. I have recently been fortunate enough to have come into quite a lot of money – more than I need for myself and my family. So I thought that I would share some of it with other people – the £50 enclosed is for you. I hope this enables you to have a little extra cheer this Christmas. You do not have to do anything other than spend the money – and it is real, there is no trick, no hidden cameras or catch. Just have a happy Christmas.”
After the health scares that we both had this year, I looked around and thought to myself that I didn’t need half of the clutter we’ve been accumulating over the years and have been slowly giving things away. I read an inspiring book called Money and the Prosperous Soul by Stephen Da Silva. It has really helped me examine myself and my attitudes and it is quite freeing to give away some of the things that we don’t need any more but can bless someone else.
This past year has made me realise the treasure that friends really are. In mid 2010, I lost a close friend to cancer and then subsequently had realised that a long-term friendship had drifted so early this year, I broke it off with that person. It has felt a bit like a divorce in many ways as that person is still there and people seemingly have taken sides. As a Christian, it was hard balancing this split with the Gospel message of peace and reconciliation but I have reflected and prayed long and hard over it and when I came back from the US, I did extend the hand of peace and do feel that all that can be done about that friendship has been done for the moment. I expect healing to come in 2012.
In the meantime, it has meant that I have had to face up to how lonely I really am as that friendship had been a crutch and I thank God for the new friendships that have come in its place. At the Detling Conference (large local Bible conference) back in August, I heard Jeff Lucas preaching about relationships and I did feel so lonely and prayed for a prayer partner. Well, that prayer was answered! I have a wonderful prayer partner for the first time in many years and I have to laugh sometimes as she isn’t the person I would have picked as we are so different from each other and probably wouldn’t have approached each other at a social event but as I have gotten to know her I realise that spiritually we are very similar.
Christmas Day was a time we had been dreading rather than anticipating with joy this year. It was only when we realised why we had felt so empty about Christmas for the past two years that we were able to start to move on. Our friend who died in 2010 always used to have a party on Christmas Eve for his birthday and that absence really made Christmas all the harder. It was in realising this, that we managed to move on a bit from those empty feelings and stepped out and actually bought a tree and decorated it rather than not bothering. I even managed to put on a Christmas gathering which I enjoyed but Christmas Day was still hard. Even though, we were thankful to share the day with each other, an echo of that loneliness had coloured that day and at church in the morning, we would see families together happy and ready to share a meal together. An old friend was here visiting was at church that morning and she asked me what we were doing and upon hearing that we were going for a walk and then having a meal together at home later, had the sensitivity to ask me if I was happy with doing that. She made our Christmas by ringing later to ask us to spend time with her family in Kent. We had been to their home many times in the past and it was such a blessing to be able to do so again as she and her husband had moved away and we hadn’t seen them for several years. I am planning to see her more often in 2012.
I have been thinking about what happened this year is going to change me in 2012. We were blessed with new and deeper friendships through challenging times. We were so blessed to be able to spend a wonderful few days with Jeanne and Michael which hadn’t been planned and we are really looking forward to spending some more time with them in 2012 as they are so much fun. I also got to knit with Chris again which is always great fun particularly with Louie in the mix 🙂 I am so blessed to know Louise and Bob and I’m really looking forward to them coming back to Kent next year and having a fun time with them. If my US trip had gone to plan then we might not have met Louise, let alone been blessed by her help.
It was also great to spend time with Eileen this year despite me being in a hospital but it did mean that pao was able to see her too which hadn’t been in the plan but it was wonderful all the same. At least I got to see the Badlands at dusk and dawn with her which really took my breath away. I can’t describe what an honour it was to have shared that experience with her. Having a phone in my hospital room was great as I loved chatting to Carrie K and am planning to get to San Francisco when I can as she sounds even more wonderful than she does on the blog.
I don’t think I could write about 2011 without mentioning Snoopy. Our motto for the year was ‘You have to be a friend to make a friend’ so we made more of an effort to be friends with people. Even if we felt glum and not like going out, we tried harder and on the whole, it made a difference. Through this change in attitude, we have been blessed by an unusual extended family who are partly from our church, partly from other churches who have extended their homes and love to us. They have stepped in and cared when we have needed it and we are so blessed to spend time with them. We have shared the joys of two new babies in the family and many evenings crafting and chatting this year. I’m really looking forward to more of those evenings next year.
My faith certainly has taken a battering this year but I’m coming through 2011 with more certainty about it than I did before. When I was in that hotel room in South Dakota with Eileen, there was a moment when I couldn’t bear what was happening to my body that I cried out to God as I thought I was dying. I think the only moment that I was scared in that time from then on was when they put some pads on my chest in case the shot they gave me to stop my heart and restart it didn’t actually restart it and they would have had to use the paddles. I wasn’t scared about dying, just scared of the electric shock. The pain that I felt when my heart stopped was the worst pain I’d ever felt but all along, I felt God was by my side and what a relief it had been when my heart rate went back to normal again. I was alone in a hospital room for several nights and the one thing that reassured me as I was awake at night were the three crosses lit up in the distance on the Cathedral opposite. I had been going out to the US so I could get a rest and a rest I certainly did get. It was after that I decided that I would start wearing a cross and bought one from the Black Hills Gold store just next door to our hotel in Rapid City.
Looking forward to 2012, I am hoping for a new year full of hope and promise. I’m also declaring health, provision and wisdom over this coming year. I am looking forward to welcoming friends to our home and enjoying spending time with them and working in new places. I enjoyed Knit night at Jeanne’s so much, I’m thinking about starting something in my house this year.
“Unless we think of others and do something for them, we miss one of the greatest sources of happiness.”
– Ray Lyman Wilbur
was a quote on the wall in Rapid City Regional Hospital and this has really touched my heart so I’ll be looking for new opportunities to think of others and do something for them in 2012. I loved the care that I got in hospital and how kind all the staff were knowing how far away from home I was. There was a lovely nurse called Katina who just spent a few minutes holding my hand when I was crying in the night because the pain was bad and I hope that I can do something as kind for someone in the coming year.
“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.”
These words have been given to us and up to now I’ve read the first bit and ignored the second but I really am believing in the hope and the future – particularly after the trials of 2011.
Roll on 2012! Praying blessings for you and your families this coming year!
Jonathan Swift: “May you live every day of your life.”