This is the last day of 2009. This is also the first morning of my stay at home that I've woken at a reasonable hour (8 a.m.). Because of the latter, I enjoying the opportunity to be alone in the quiet of the morning, reflecting. I read a blog post from a friend that highlights her experience of 2009, complete with dates and photographs. It reminded me that I always want to do that but never actually do.
Perhaps when I've returned to Chicago I'll work on that. For now, I am sitting on the back porch with two of the cats, a chorus of birds, and the fresh dewy chill of this new, climactic day. The past year has been one of great change for me; some triumphs, some sadness, a strange but fruitful shift in geography/employment/community.
January was the month I had originally planned to leave life in Kentucky, not for Chicago, but for Palestine. I pushed that back to March and then never went at all. Instead, I began to treasure up my time with the women and staff of Healing Rain, with my darling roommate and other volunteer and former volunteer friends, with my sweet Kentucky home. I had no idea, when I first moved there, how my heart would be wed to its hills.
I trained for and ran a half-marathon (though, in all honesty, I couldn't run the whole thing)in Nashville with a few dear friends who would soon be setting out on their own, separate, adventures. I paid a visit to Israel while he was living in Tennessee with his brother and sister-in-law whose lifestyle I admired and tried to not covet. I flew down to Florida for Easter and a chance to visit my family before entering the unknown.
Chris and Amanda drove up from Knoxville when the day for moving arrived and helped me transport my bedroom's worth of belongings to Chicago. Over half of the latter end of '09 has been spent in that city; no telling how many more months/years will be lived there. Before I left it for this holiday trip, Chicago was the location of monumental transpirings. Sitting here though, in flannel pajamas at my childhood home with the majority of my family slumbering nearby, my life in Chicago seems faraway and small. I know that won't be the case when I return. It is a peculiar thing, the effect that perspective can have on one's vision.
Since being in Chicago I have already had a number of visitors (Grace & Sarah, Kristen and Shannon, Kosch) gone to visit others (Amblyn-WI, the Rommelfangers-WI, Rebecca-TX, the Nees-FL). I have reconnected with dear old friends from former seasons (Laura-Ky, Azuree-WP) and made a passel of new ones (Cat, Chrissy, Catholic Workers & Co., Laura F. the yet unmet but greatly beloved Laina, Dan & Angela, etc.). these encounters have led me to realize that relationships are the essence of being. They are life's fullness without which, even the most beautiful landscapes, the most exciting experiences, are flat.
In addition, I have begun to find acceptance of and in the Catholic church. I miss Aaron and Ann Marie very much. My feeling of being responsible for and connected to the world has been reinforced. My sense of wonder has returned. My love for the Nee family abides. And I wonder, with anticipation, what we will become and what we will create in this new year.
Be well and blessed dear friends, and yet-unmet fellow travelers.