In the last few days of 2014 I have heard all kinds of remarks about the impending turn of the year.
“It was a shitty year, thank God it’s over.”
“It was a great year, I can’t wait to see what is in store for 2015!”
“Have you found a sparkly NYE top yet?”
In reflecting on where I am on the last day of 2014 I feel humbled.
The lens of my perspective of this bigger picture and where I fall within it was most recently focused a little over a month ago when Levi and I were driving to my family’s Thanksgiving at the end of November. It was late, there was a still darkness outside, and our vehicle careened through the cold hills of north central Ohio. Forests of tall trees and knotted brambles cupped both sides of the road, holding within them everything they have witnessed from their rooted spots for the last 50, 75, 100+ years.
I wondered how many people have driven on, walked by, and traveled down this road? What were they experiencing in their lives when they did?
As Levi and I were making this drive I felt this immense sense of gratitude to be less than 10 minutes from spending a couple of days with my family… but I could also not tear my mind away from the people who would not be able to do the same.
It hit me the same way a makeshift memorial on the side of a highway does. You see the crosses, the wreaths, perhaps a bouquet of flowers or an old sweatshirt. Sometimes you catch a glimpse of a name or a date… and it just derails you. Whatever you were thinking about a split second earlier, whatever song was on the radio, suddenly escapes your mind.
“I am here, and they are not,” is the sole thought that now occupies it.
Upon seeing a date on one of these markers my thoughts launch to that month and year and I try to remember,
“how old was I on that date? What was I doing in my life at that time? What have I done since then?”. And then worse, I think, “what will that person never be able to do again?”
Many people know families who are living with the everyday tragedy of losing a loved one. “Why them?” I have to ask. “Why did they have to lose someone?” And there are also those families who still have all members intact, those lucky ones who all live a long life and pass away from natural causes of old age.”How did they do it?” I beg for an answer, wanting my family to all live well into old age too.
Finally my mind leaps, “why me? “Why do I get to be here with my entire family?”
And I am humbled.
Each new year seems to go by more quickly than the ones that came before. As I have been thinking back on 2014 I am thankful to just be here and have my family here too. I am appreciative to live another day full of opportunities. I am grateful to talk with and hug the ones I love.
In 2015 I want to slow time down a bit. I know I can’t physically suspend seconds, but I want to consciously enjoy time and register what I am doing. I want to keep what is truly important in perspective. I want to give thanks each day for being here with the ones I love.
P.S. A few 2014 snaps with some of those I am thankful for: