In the last year, I can easily say that I have ridden a roller coaster of emotional experiences. Here's the year in a nutshell:
- I thoroughly enjoyed a surprise birthday party with friends and an awesome cake. I love cake. I love my friends for celebrating with me. I love my husband for cooking up this party.
- My fashion photographer, mentor in the modeling biz, and close friend, Michael Wray, lost his battle with cancer, on Labor Day. I sat beside his hospice bed, hand on his chest, as he breathed his last breath.
- As a result of Michael's death, I made a new friend in Gaby Hirsch, who traveled all the way from Germany to be with her friend of 30 years as he made his transition.
- My son got married in September. It was a fabulous wedding and I will never forget the groom/mother dance. Happy tears welled in my eyes.
- My nephew on my ex's side of the family committed suicide. Oh, dear God. He was so young.
- After a year and a half at a job that was sucking the life out of me, I left with no other plans to fill my bank account, trusting in my true Source of supply to sustain me as I recovered my authentic self.
- The week of Thanksgiving I suffered an extremely painful back injury while riding a polo pony calmly around an arena. Dream shattered.
- After this injury and months and months of a recurring physical problem, I set about getting well, with the help of my chiropractor and his extensive knowledge of clinical nutrition.
- My savings were completely depleted in my efforts to be well.
- Christmas with family! My first Christmas in years with a kid and a room full of toys. Child-like wonder. Buddy the Elf. Too many yummy cookies. Tons of pictures. Lots of love.
- In January, I sprained my left ankle. It still swells and causes me pain. I can't work out without aggravating both my ankle and my back injuries, no matter how careful I am. I find myself battling anger every day as I remember how fit I was and realize how unfit I am now. My body has declared mutiny.
- We celebrated my middle daughter's 30th birthday with a big surprise party that her husband threw. He is a master of the sneakiness. I loved this party. Family, her wonderful friends, and yes, fabulous cake.
- My husband and I suffered our first relationship crisis.
- Leland and I traveled to Florida and Virginia to attend events with his family. It was my first time meeting most of them. Truly lovely people. My youngest daughter took advantage of our close proximity to Northern Virginia to see her mom and step-dad. It's always a treat to see her beautiful face.
- I spent 5 glorious days in Arkansas with my daughter, son-in-law, and the amazing Kate the Great, celebrating her second birthday. Takeaways: Spend time with small children, and recover your own child-likeness. Family is everything.
- I have had several weekend opportunities to spend time with my 2 kids and their spouses in NC, a short 4 hour drive from Atlanta. I don't care what we do, or if we do nothing but hang out in the kitchen, I never laugh so much as when I'm in a room with my kids.
- A friend of ours died suddenly last week. Tragic, painful for so many, and difficult to process.
C'est la vie--such is life. It seems so flippant, but it is really true. We have never been promised comfort on this journey, but we have been promised trials and we have been promised that God will never leave us. He promises hope and a future.
Such is life: Joy, pain, tragedy, sickness, comforting, healing, birth, death.
As I look toward celebrating another birthday in a couple of weeks, I don't think I feel like having a party; surprise or otherwise. Birthdays are shiny-happy events and the shiny has dulled a bit this year.
On the other hand, maybe it's exactly what I should do. I need to make my c'est la vie not so much about shrugging my shoulders at life's pain, as about celebrating life's joy in the midst of sorrow.