Sunday, December 31, 2006

New year, new light

Dear Jan,

We have lived a year full of danger and challenge together and we choose to believe that we are better now than last year. We know more about the paradoxical nature of life: we have been soaked in pain, near death, doubt, speechlessness, and dark valleys, yet, it has been there that we have experienced first hand, selfless love, iridescent light, endless grace, strong support, tender comfort, unshakable faith, and most paradoxically, the presence of God in a way we haven't experienced before.

You have seen death face to face. You were technically death for ten days had it not been for a respirator machine that kept you going, yet, in the very edge of life, we were confronted with our most basic beliefs, with our most fundamental hopes; our most basic relationships were tested. And now we know that the beauty of life resides in the vast array of relationships we have, most importantly, in the type of relationship we have with God and with ourselves. We know that pain, loss, sadness, anger and even death are very much an integral part of life. That without them we would not understand joy or peace, or love, or the essential lightness of being alive.

At times, we have been weak, without any strength left to continue or any hope to look up and see the light, and yet, it was in the recognition of our weakness that we found strength in God. When we couldn't hope or take the next step, others did the believing and the walking. When we did not have the strength to reach out, the Master reached out himself and touched us in a thousand ways. We learned that this strength is born inside of us when we have internalized our faith in him and let it bond with each cell of our selves, letting the Creator live in us and through us. We learned that the strength to live life fully comes from both, the inside and the outside, that the myth of superman or superwoman are just that: a myth. We found out an endless source of strength and hope in our community. We learned that we are only as strong as our links with them and our link with God.

You lost your capacity to speak, to sing, to write, to read. You lost your most fundamental tools to be a teacher. It took you six months to be able to read at second grade level, four months to be able to walk like a toddler, eight months to be able to ride in the subway by yourself. Nevertheless, it was in this time without words when family and commmunity wrote and spoke with words of granite the language of love. Now, almost eleven months after your aneurysm, you are gaining up on the aphasia, your vocabulary is larger, your energy is higher, your memory is improving, dozens, maybe hundreds of people have reached out and touched our lives in such a way that the temporary losses you have pale compared to the lessons of practical love you have received.

We could see the ending year as a half empty glass and cry over the lost opportunities, lost income, lost time, lost conversations; but we choose to see it as a glass that is being filled, we choose to be glad for the lessons learned, the love poured, the light shared, the help received. This is how we want to name life, to speak out its goodness, to be happy with the circumstances that instead of becoming prisons, can serve us as a step to see higher and farther.

We know that the Master was every step of the way with us through this year, and that we can count with his presence during the next year as well, we know this from experience. We choose to finish the year knowing rather than doubting, hoping rather than despairing, thanking rather than badmouthing. We choose to look forward to getting more light, more love, more joy so we can share all of them more with a world that is getting too dark.


A note from Jan:

During 2006, I confirmed that the most important thing for me is to be in relationship with God, to walk with him hand in hand. God comes to us and gives himself to us. We give our lives helping others but still the most important thing in my life is God himself. He has helped me get through all the challenges I had to face. For this I am thankful. I love you all.

1 comment:

Ret said...

I remember the day when I first found out about your aneurysm. It was my first visit to Janette's place since we made up. We had had a huge fight before Christmas and stopped being friends for roughly two months. It was shortly before this happened that we made up and I went to her place where we enjoyed our time together.

It was when I came back Dave told me I might have to sit down and ask him for the EMergency Chocolate hidden away when I heard what he'd have to tell me. While I was gone, JOhn had come to our house to tell us the news personally. I was in a daze. The expereince was surreal.

The first time I visited you, you were asleep most of the time. The second time you were up and awake but we had great difficulty communicating, especially in a noisy room with no privacy and my own senses becoming overloaded.

2006 has been one year for the test of love and friendship, not to mention hospital visits. First you, then Dave and then I had to struggle with the irony of missing your party due to my bipolar episode. I wish I could have made it.

Every day I read your 'blog and whenever I have a chance to visit you I am impressed with the progress you've made. May 2007 be a year of health, prosperity and GOd's richest blessings; a seson of reaping and rejoicing and an end to our trials and tribulations.

Hugs and warm fuzzies,