Posted by: ritagone | December 29, 2010

Year-end Wrap Up

I love the end of the year, the last few days before we turn to a new calendar.  It’s a time between nostalgia and promise.  Nostalgia over what has happened in the previous almost 365 days, people you have spent time with (or not spent time with), people who have passed away, things you have done, places you have gone, memories that are now stored on the hard drive of your mind to be gone over again and again in the months and years to come.  Promise for what lies ahead if all goes well and if God wills your health and stamina to hold out: people you will meet and spend time with, trips you will take, ministries you can participate in, all the life that will be available for you to live.

What did 2010 mean for you?  Was it a good year or a bad one?  One you’d like to forget or one you’d like to savor?  Or – probably like most of us – one that had good mixed with bad?  For me there was some great loss (our dear friend David Brantingham) and some amazing experiences (our trip to Russia and the marriage retreat we helped put together there in October).  I taught several fun Bible studies to several different groups, including my church’s Thursday morning womens’ group, called The Connection, and our church’s Sunday morning over 50 group called Third Quarter (T.Q.).  2010 saw the finality of our son’s divorce after a 10-year marriage and after a three-year separation, with a five-year-old daughter that cannot remember her parents ever living together.  (“How do you know my mommy?” she asked her daddy recently.  Isn’t that a remarkable question from children of our contemporary culture, steeped in divorce as it is, displaying a child who doesn’t even understand at this point how her parents know each other?)

So it’s been an up and down year, like all years, probably, and like it’s most likely been for you.  As I send this, I’m in Austin, Texas, with my husband, son and daughter for a Warren family reunion of sorts, here to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Michael’s brother Joe and his wife Sue.  We are surrounded by two nephews, their wives and children, a sibling of my husband and her husband and one daughter, assorted friends and acquaintances, some of them delightful to be with, some not so much.  And if there’s one other truth that has struck me this year with astounding vibrancy, it’s that every family – no matter how beautiful or seemingly perfect on the outside – has its foibles and its faults, glaring or just a glimmer.  No family is perfect.  Talk a bit or a lot and you will uncover major sins and behaviors that are hideous.  No family is exempt.  Don’t tell me yours is, because I don’t believe you.  And yet if this year has taught me anything else, it has taught me too that forgiveness is expansive, that God expects me to forgive as He forgives, not because I’m capable of ever reaching God’s forgiveness levels, but because I’m to keep trying.

So between the nostalgia and the promise comes the pondering and the thinking and the dreaming.

I pray for each one of you reading this that 2011 will be a year filled with much fulfillment of promise.  Make those resolutions and then hopefully by the end of 2011, we can gather again to see how well you carried them out.

And, as Scarlett O’Hara so famously reminds us, tomorrow is always another day.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Warm regards,  Rita

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