So much has gone on this year. I never thought that retiring would bring so many other things into my life to keep me so busy but I am glad it did. The fibromyalgia and arthritis that set in my body gives me pain but with retirement and my doc's great encouragement, I push myself to the gym daily to stretch and work out the kinks that hurt. The hurt hurts, and then it helps. Sounds crazy, but I know in the long run, it is good for me.
These last few months, God has tested our wills. A brother in law passed suddenly from kidney failure after crashing on his four-wheeler. It was and has been a period of great sadness for his family. His mom was then diagnosed with kidney cancer and had her kidney removed, along with the depression, etc from losing her only son. It has been deafening to see her endure her pain. And now she has fallen and broken her hip. Just pitiful, but she is a trooper. God strengthens her soul in ways I witness but hope to never live. My own son needs me and so I am trying to work things out to where I can move back up north. Financially, it will take a bit to get there, but if it is supposed to be, then it will be, I am doing the best I can.
And now, my brother, Dennis. Out of nowhere, a brain injury. It began with flu like systems around Thanksgiving and he started getting weaker, and weaker and weaker. Literally every thing has been ruled out yet he has brain damage from "something" and it certainly is not viral or bacterial. Motor skills are lost also. Hospital is preparing to ship him to rehab to save/repair what motor skills they can, but then what? I keep telling myself that God knows all, does all...believe in Him....hold on to him. HE knows exactly what he is doing.
Christmas came and went without much notice as we were all quite exhausted. I even missed Christmas Eve mass. But my God knows where my heart was. He knows that I know that materially wrapped presents are never the real gifts this time of year, but family and the love of those we have around us and the charity with which we serve others is. Which brings me to my last note. This year, I selected a family whose daddy is a terminally ill throat cancer patient and there is three girls (7, 15, and 16). Tough ages to be seeing their father go through the ravages of cancer. Radiation and chemo have taken a toll on him and he is down to about 85 or 90lbs and can no longer eat anything; it has to be crushed and put through a tube in his stomach. Amazing what science can do. Hearing about this indigent family who would have no Christmas, I asked my local FB friends $.50 each and lo and behold my big FB family came forward. Many of my military friends jumped in and I was able to spend $300 on this family and get them items that they "really" wanted - to make it special. Another friend of mine, Michele Haro, a local photographer here in Melbourne/Palm Bay, has also volunteered her time to take family portraits of the family. This will surely provide lasting memories for their family.
As I reflect on this year, there has been so little and so much and yet God always gives me just what I need. In my heart, he knows the two things I am asking for this next year, if it be his will. I will do my part.
I ask everyone to do their part. Our world is not getting any easier. The rules are getting harder, the kids have it tougher, money is tighter, the weather is crazier, even the internet...a little more weird-er (?) :) Let's commit ourselves to paying it forward to at least one person once a day, or once a week - if you can. Just simple things like a smile can go a long way....or a thank you...or holding a door for someone. That is my wish for all of us...paying it forward to others.
Happy New Year to all of you out there. I wish you peace, happiness, a joyous spirit, and great health.
I love you.