Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Both Ways

The Roman god Janus has two faces, one to look back and one to look forward. Thus, the month January.
The new year has always felt to me like any other day, just a 24-hour chunk of time. The more chaotic and trying life is, the less able you are to devote silly celebration to one moment just because it falls between two years.

But this year I seem to be more at a life crossroads. Don't we each study life behind, trying to discern some pattern of lessons learned from trials, some indication of where we should go? Don't we each study our future, wanting to be wise in our plans?

Here are photos from this past year, to remind me of what we've done that I long to remember, and not forget.
 We got a free sailboat and first sailed her on January 1, 2013.
 Julia's gift in art developed and expanded this year.
 She and Adam enjoyed the boat often.
 He built her a boat of her own.
 Philip came home for the summer -- yay!
 Anna came home for the summer and worked at Camp Seafarer - yay!
 And .. the beach!! ... of course.
 Adam had a medical scare and started his long weight-loss journey to better health.
 We made a new friend called Beau. He came to live with us.
 Anna toiled through the arduous task of becoming a licensed driver with a car.
 We visited precious family.
And they visited us!
 My little cottage industry continued to grow and prosper.
 We saw more family ...
And more family ...
 And more family!
 Our church family became more active, more fun, more involved, and a very great blessing.
 Julia seemed to transform out of girlhood into a young woman.
 Our church loved and appreciated us!
 We visited Peter at college. He and Julia have become pals.
 And she grew up some more with a swanky new hair cut.
 We kept sailing.
 Our involvement in and enjoyment of the broader church community was greatly enriched through common worship and common service.
 I made truly wonderful friends at the market.
 The kids came home for Christmas, but it was all too short and hurried,
Because we were moving into a new house, for which we are very, very grateful.

I read another New Year's blog that said this:
"Reasons to go on living:
Nothing ever stays the same,
Some good thing could happen,
Might kiss again,
Starry nights (and many more such lovely things),
Alternative looks boring."

That last one brought me up short. (And this is no criticism of this blogger. It's a sweet post, and I understand the intent behind the list she posted.) But honestly, I wouldn't make a list like that, if I were giving my reasons to keep living. But I can't post my list because it would sound so serious, so spiritual, and perhaps rather goody-goody, and I don't like sounding like that. There is beauty in life, but it's not the reason we keep living. In life's dark moments, the beauty outside our darkness does motivate us not to give up. But during the other 95% of our days, we must have deeper reasons to keep living. It's vastly more than red roses and bubble baths, more than travel to fascinating places or a new pair of shoes. It's even more than relationships, love, and caring for others, deep and precious as those are.

I live because the one who breathed life into me, and who will never take it away, says to me, "Live. Enjoy the good. Reject the bad. Embrace all I give you, knowing that the best of this world pales in comparison to the beauty yet to come."

Thus, that last item on the list leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. The alternative to this life is anything but boring; it is superior. And I keep living, not because the next life is worse, but because it is better. It is hope. May you say the same.

2014 is just around the corner. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we shall sail!


  1. Much love to you and yours in the New Year! God Bless you all!


  2. What a beautiful post! I pray many blessings to you in this new year.

  3. Happy New Year to ...may you Sail on in 2014 ...in all the important and serious endeavors as well as playing on the beach.

  4. Wishing you Happy Sails!
    Happy New Year.

  5. We are souls, more glorious than our bodies minds can comprehend and I'm living for eternity.
    See you there, Mary Katherine, if not before.


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