And another year comes to a close

The last day of 2008 has arrived. I have lived on this earth for 15,390 days. (Don’t bother to do the math. I’ll just admit I’m a member of the over 40 crowd.) During all that time, I have lived and breathed and awakened each day to make my way through the next 24 hours, but I haven’t always really lived. Except for a handful of memorable ones, I can’t recall what I accomplished or how I passed the time during most of those days. There were weeks that I wished would end quickly. There were times when my eyes were  shut to everything going on around me. I have raced through phases of life, anxious to move onto the next, only to realize I had missed something important in my rush to move on. Much of that time was a gift that escaped my attention because I was too busy to notice or too closed off to care. But I have also grown in many ways.

Today marks the end of another calendar year and as I look back on the last 365 days, I realize that I am still learning, still growing and figuring out how to embrace life. I just wish it hadn’t taken so long. And hopefully the journey will never stop as long as I am still breathing.

There is nothing that opens one’s eyes to the precarious nature of life than the possibility that a loved one could be whisked away too soon. I spent much of the first half of this year dwelling on that very possibility. My dad’s kidneys were failing. I had been tested and knew I was a good match to be an organ donor, but the weeks and months until the final testing and surgery seemed to drag. Not a day went by when I didn’t think ahead to when we might actually be able to go through with a kidney transplant. And in the end of July it became a reality. Right through the day of our operations, there were concerns about my dad’s heart being strong enough to withstand such a major surgery, but it was. He made it. We did it! My kidney is now functioning very successfully in my dad’s body. I will never forget opening my eyes to see the team of transplant surgeons surrounding my hospital bed, telling me that all went well, looking at me with what seemed to be a sort of admiration. Donating my kidney was one of the most amazing and humbling experiences I’ve ever had. I would do it again in a heartbeat! (Well, except I kind of need the one that I have left.)

Kidney 001 by you.

I still own the one on the right. The one on the left went to live with my dad.

 

 

IMG_7680 by you.And if that experience weren’t enough to remind me that each day is a gift, the point was driven home in June when Brad and two friends were involved in a roll-over car accident on a busy highway one Sunday afternoon. Justin, the driver suffered a seizure and lost control of the truck. The fact that they all walked away, relatively unharmed reinforced my belief that sometimes miracles do happen. I now hug my kids a little tighter and tell them I love them even more often than I did before.

Thankfully, the rest of the year was lacking in such major events, but the seeds of change had definitely been planted. I found myself reaching for more and stretching beyond my self-imposed boundaries.

I began to explore my faith in ways I never had before, shrugging off some of the “restrictions” of the faith in which I grew up. It became a journey I’ve often enjoyed. Church became something to look forward to. For the first time ever, I discovered I could be excited about my faith and that it might be ok to worship in places of other faiths.

I worried less about what other people thought.

I realized the importance of spending as much time with my kids as possible. They grow up too fast.

I learned that another person’s negative attitude doesn’t have to become mine. Trust me. It took me all this time to figure that out!

I realized that no matter how old I am, I am never too old to keep learning, and discovering  and exploring and reaching.

And yes, I still had my bad days. Plenty of those. Of course, it’s hard to appreciate the good without the bad, so I guess even the bad days are a blessing in disguise.

IMG_7694_1 by you.I really only have one goal for 2009. Make every day count. I want to find something significant in each and every day that comes along.  I want to take risks and never stop exploring. I’ve wasted too much time already.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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25 thoughts on “And another year comes to a close

  1. Definitely a remarkable and rememberable year for you. I’m sorry for all you have had to go through. But, you are right, we are ALL still growing, no matter if we’re 18, 30, or 45, etc.

    I wish you a wonderful 2009!

    *hugs*

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  2. fantastic goal…
    and speaking of being in your forties (I’m there, a newbie but there) I’m thinking this is going to be one of my most favorite decades yet.

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  3. What an amazing year it has been and a journey for sure. Thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us and making our days a little brighter along with way. God is doing amazing things in and through you and I’m excited to see that continue to play out in 2009. Happy New Year.

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  4. Great post Terri.

    It’s a great blessing that you’re getting to this point in your life. I actually think it is the norm rather than the exception that it takes a good 4 to five decades just to figure out what is really important and then to adjust our lives and our thinking to work on that.

    So revel in the fact that you’re really on your way now and that you will continue to deepen and broaden your understanding and your faith.

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  5. Wow. What a ride 2008 has been. It is good to see that you have taken the up & downs of the past year and turned them to the positive.

    Hope that 2009 exceeds your expectations.
    Happy New Year!

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  6. Great New Year’s goal! Much better than the usual “stop eating crap” and such.

    Reading over this post, I realized that I knew about many of your major past year events. Such is the connection that blogging brings. Happy New Year!

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  7. Oh my most generous inspiring, friend! What a year this has been. I am so thankful to have met you on my way through this fast moving year. I look forward to our continued friendship. And of course maybe getting together for a visit! I hope you have a Wonderful Start to this Brand New Year! ((hugs)) Love you!

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  8. Man girl…you are SO good at taking MY thoughts and putting them down on paper and calling them your own…LOL…it’s like I think the stuff and you so eleoquently express it for me. Ha!

    VERY well said Terri! Thank you for letting us have that experience with you. I have been having much the same revelations lately as far as realizing that this is my time to be a Mom of little ones and to stop wishing it away but rather embrace it. It’s changed so many things…and still so many more need to change. Isn’t like such an amazing and challenging experience? I’m so glad to have you on my journey with me! :)

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  9. laughing at morethananelectrician (i don’t think you’re supposed to tell a woman she’s older than she thinks she is! lol)

    hope you have a great, trials & tribulations free new year.

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  10. That is so awesome that you were able to save your dad’s life by donating a kidney. Your heart is definitely in the right place.

    Life is short. One minute it’s here and the next it’s gone. I learned that the hard way. I have been close to death several times, and I have lost loved ones.

    Sounds like you are already on the right path by making each moment count as best you can. That’s all that you can do. And always remember God is in control.

    God bless you and Happy New Years :-)

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  11. Personally, I’m glad to see the end of 2008. It’s been one of the toughest years I’ve had since I left the Marine Corps, and that was 23 years ago. I hope 2009 will be better for all of us, though the handwriting on the wall isn’t supportive of that eventuality.

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  12. Terri,

    I find myself in the same position this year. The past year was a difficult one for me. Another story. But seeing how quickly things can change has taken grip of my direction. I have had people close to me pass away, seen good friends lose thier jobs, know some who are mentally shot from what life brought them. As a father, I have always stuck to my commitment of raising my children the best I can. I have always made sure they had what they needed to move along. Many times I’ve worked more than one job to provide.
    Now my kids are all adults and I am at a point where I want to take care of myself now. Perhaps get more spiritual. Being probably a few thousand days older (52) , now I’m trying to figure out how to embrace life. I know I look at things closer, and take more time to make decisions. I’ve learned that the hard way. But where do I start, how do I start. Those are my questions. There are days I want to completely change myself, but I’ll always be me, and maybe I don’t need to. (what?) I’m rambling. Good luck with your quest for life. If you find any short cuts, let me know. I pray you’ll have a great year and achieve that inner need (sounds bad, but you know what I mean) you desire.

    G

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  13. Happy New Year! Doing the skim method in Google Reader. Saw this and slowed down long enough to realize I hadn’t wished you a HNE. Consider yourself served :)

    Zoooooooom…………………….

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