It’s January 9th. Is that too late to write a ‘Farewell 2009’ blog? Probably. I’m going to anyway.
If I had to pick a theme for the latest year of my life gone by, it’d be courage. Don’t worry; I’m not about to call myself courageous (although I’d like to hope that I would be if the opportunity presented itself). I’m referring to the people in my life throughout the last year. Some I’ve know for all of my twenty-one years, with others I spent only a few hours. Each of them though, taught me a lesson or two. Through their stories of bravery and courage I learned about the way I hope to live my life. For that, I am grateful. Let me introduce you to a few of them…
Betty from Eldon:
I met Betty the week of Thanksgiving. I spent a few hours with her as she prepared a Thanksgiving feast for a few hundred people. For years now, she hasn’t sat down to a quaint family dinner that so many of us look forward to. Instead of going around the table listing off things she is thankful for, Betty unknowingly becomes the thing so many in Mid-Missouri would list first. The dinner she organizes is for everyone…rich, poor, homeless, privileged, alone or with friends. Betty and her team welcome them all and make them family. Even this year, the year her doctors told her will be her last thanks to aggressive breast cancer, Betty pushed her family’s celebration back to the weekend. She says she’s thankful for those few hours that become infinitely brighter for so many. She is a blessing to them, and a blessing to me. Thanks to Betty for sharing her story and showing that each day brings an opportunity to help.
The Columbia MO ‘Al Anon’ Group:
There are a lot of these, for the record. No, I’m not an alcoholic but after spending an hour with about 10 people from the group, it didn’t seem like such a bad thing to be. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but my point is that I was completely blown away by the compassion and acceptance I felt there. I went because I had to…my class project required me to go somewhere where I would feel completely uncomfortable, a place where I didn’t belong. Mission accomplished. I still think about the experience sometimes because I so respect the people I met. No questions asked, all of them wrote down their names and numbers so I could call anytime I had a question or just wanted to talk. As they shared their stories of broken childhoods, violent marriages and the despair they felt for their children battling addiction, I was in awe. They took a step—and continue to each week—to make their lives better. Thanks to them for reaching out to me just because they’d been where I was only imagining to be.
I’m pretty sure Grandpa never knew what blogging meant, but this isn’t the first time he has appeared in one of mine. He died in June, while I was in London. It’s been more than six months, but in many ways he has never been more alive in my life. He lived with great courage, never hesitating to do the right thing. Grandpa lived a life of service and he passed those lessons onto his family. I had lunch with he and my grandma the day before I left for London. They gave me a framed picture of them on their wedding day and a poem. Part of it says, ‘There is a mark that I must leave, however small it be. A legacy of love for those who follow after me.’ Thanks Grandpa, for your legacy of love.
Alright…there’s three of them. There are about 1000 more. Maybe in 2010 I should write about them more often. That might get a little too sentimental for me, but I’ll give it a try. Between that and not drinking soda, I have just about all the resolutions I can handle. :)
Happy 2010! I hope this year I can find some courage to figure out what to do with my life. Maybe I’ll borrow some from ‘09..
Thanks for reading,