We were born in the fifties, raised in the sixties, married in the seventies, reared our kids in the eighties and nineties. So what will our grandchildren say about the decade they arrived on the scene? What will we even call it? The Oh-ohs?
In our family, the upcoming year will bring many new starts. We have a brand new grandson, and will soon welcome a new daughter-in-law. This year, the older grands will turn eight, four, and three, and will be learning and experiencing new things every day.
At the end of 2009, a very prominent and successful athlete chose to start his life over. Maybe chose is not the appropriate word. He was forced into this decision when some previous wrong turns suddenly caught up to and consumed him. This has happened to many others, because of too much attention lavished on someone who is too young. Those who genuinely care about him are supporting his new path: take a huge step out of the limelight and re-evaluate. What is really important? Where should his life go from here? If he never receives another endorsement or appears on the cover of another magazine, he’s had more than his share of fame. Good luck, young Mr. Woods. Hope you get yourself back together.
While recovering from a health issue in my own life, I’ve realized there is a goal I’ve had since I was a child that has never gone away. It’s been on the back burner as I’ve put career and family first. It’s still a part of me, and during the coming year, I plan to take concrete steps to reach it. All things happen in God’s time, and the experiences I’ve had up to now were all important. There was no wasted time. It was all valuable in one way or another. This year, I’ll be checking out new possibilities, creeping ever closer. If any of this intrigues you, check out the section called “The Writer’s Journey” on this blog for more details.
Sometimes, new chances happen one day at a time, or even a minute at a time.
On the last day before returning to work, I made a shopping excursion to a very unique store. The free spaces nearby were all full, so I parked a few blocks away, requiring feeding a parking meter. Change in hand, I noticed that there was already over an hour of time remaining. The space in front of me was occupied, and its meter had the same amount of time displayed. Obviously, this was a little gift from a stranger, a welcome bit of holiday cheer.
After finding four items at the little shop, the clerk gave me a much larger discount than the posted signs had indicated. Another unexpected gift. My good fortune continued at the restaurant I chose for lunch , as I was able to purchase a smaller portion, for less money than what was advertised.
Outside, as I enjoyed the December sunshine, a man was inspecting the trash cans, obviously hoping someone had discarded something usable (or edible?). He wore a nice, warm coat, but his gloves were mostly without fingers. He smiled at me, but didn’t speak at first. I greeted him, and we talked about the beautiful weather. I made a quick tally of the little favors that had been granted me that morning. As he turned and went to the other side of the pavilion, I asked him if he’d had lunch yet. “No ma’am,” he said. “I’m homeless, and I’ve been trying to find a job.”
As I sent him off with a handshake and enough money to buy something to eat, I realized that he’d given me a second chance. Here was a way I could show my appreciation to the stranger who paid for my parking space, the clerk who helped with my Christmas shopping, the Loving Father who takes care of me each day, and gives me so much more than I need.
Here’s hoping the coming year, and the new decade, is full of all sorts of exciting new beginnings for you and your family.