Friday, January 20, 2012

starting over.

It hasn't been the 2012 I envisioned, not at all. 

Here's the thing about a new year and fresh starts: Sometimes the old stuff has this way of following you around. The cloud of distractions and frustrations that began in November tiptoed along into December, then rallied their way into January. 

Last Wednesday, my grandmother "peacefully exited this life and entered the arms of her Lord." That's how I wrote it in the obituary, because that's what I believe happened. Her fighting for life here finally stopped, and I have to believe that peace and celebration followed.

I am hoping that is what follows for those of us left behind, too. 

We are ready for peace. We are ready for celebration, yes, but I'm convinced that won't really come until later. For now, all I am asking for is peace.

Due to circumstances outside of my family's control, my grandmother's funeral wasn't until Monday. That left the family with four full days to wait and to grieve, four long days on top of the 20 or so we'd spent waiting and grieving since her December fall. I had a beach trip with girlfriends planned, and after some consideration and prayer, I decided to go. It was a trip cut short -- I knew I needed to be with family, so I spent one night instead of two -- but just that one night spent away felt like just what the doctor had ordered. 

I sat with precious friends and talked about my grandmother, about marriage, about friendships and life and happiness. We spent an hour or so wandering the local bookstore, ate chicken salad by the beach, set feet in cold sand until it felt like our toes might fall off. I sat outside in the frigid morning air and breathed deeply, covered in blankets on the pink porch swing. We laughed and shared and read, and more than once, we looked at each other and said, "Why can't real life look like this?" 

It could be depressing, I guess, if we compared our real lives with our vacations. But if we use those vacations as a starting point, if we count on the beach air to bring us back to ourselves, sometimes real life becomes a little easier to bear. 

This week has been hard. Grief is not easy, and the real world doesn't wait for the tears to dry. But my time spent at Seaside -- even those few, brief hours -- reminded me of the things that make this life so spectacular: gorgeous sunsets, good books, delicious meals, fresh air, and the company of dear friends. Those few hours gave me the new start that January 1 just couldn't. 

Sometimes all we need to press on is just a change in perspective. For me, that change often coincides with a trip to the water. I'm glad I listened to my gut last week, glad I made that trip, even though the circumstances were less than perfect. 

I hope I can carry that feeling with me during the coming days, even when water and fresh air might be a little hard to find.

The truth is, it's time to start over. It's time to seek peace and pursue it. It's time to leave the past behind, to press on to what's ahead.

Celebration will follow, but for now? For now I'll happily settle for peace.


our home to yours said...

Sorry to hear about your Grandmother. But peace will come because He loves you.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful women in those photos. Are you all models? I am with you on a new beginning. Last night was the last chance for Lisa and I to go out to one of our favorite restaurants (previously purchased discounted meal expiration day) and I must say it was very nice. like you, celebrations have been put aside. Anniversary, new years, and birthday parties didn't seem appropriate. At dinner, we had time to talk with each other and express thanks for each other. We both feel that we make each other stronger as a team. We also recognize that keeping the creator in the center of our lives while we focus on loving Him and loving people has amazing things results. We look forward to new beginnings and fresh starts.


Sydney said...

Good for you for catching those moments and making a commitment to hold onto them, those are precious and they make all the difference

Brittany said...

Oh man Annie, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother. But your totally right. Times like these give us new starts and chances to think deeply. I'm praying for peace for both of us.

Sabrina said...

Beautiful pics of some beautiful friends! So glad God bought them to you at such a necessary time.

Cherry Tree Lane said...

Oh friend.
Thinking and praying for you.

Senja said...

Beautiful Annie, inside and out. I hope you will have the peace to feel at peace very soon.

You and your family will be in my prayers.