We've been up to our worry lines in busy activities. Those activities, such as Mini-Me's basketball season, have kept us happily hopping to & fro.
However 2012 has decided to yet again cast further clouds for us to chase away, as one of Mini-Me's dear friends (her fellow classmate, and our neighbor boy) passed away unexpectedly last Monday. It was from heart complications that really no one could have predicted were present, and no one could have stopped from occurring. Despite knowing that, it is still so sad to see another light go out in Mini-Me & her classmates' starry sky.
Interesting enough is the blow this has been on our small community, as his passing is the 7th death we've coped with this year alone, the 3rd one that had directly impacted Mini-Me's class of 2015, and the 4th death just since November 2nd.
Catching our emotional breath has been elusive. There have been many inconsolable teens the past little while, as they've been unable to fully heal & have closure before another death has come along.
This additional loss has been extremely difficult on us adults in the community, therefore it has been almost unbearable to helplessly watch the kids struggle through as we are unable to just wash the pain away.
The only beauty in these losses has been witnessing Mini-Me's class fused so tightly together in support of one another, and to see our little community band together to move mountains for each other. We have all been swiftly reminded of how short life is, how precious each moment is, and how each word should not be wasted. These times of tears & heart-wrenching grief strengthen us, and prove to us what we can endure together.
So how is this a new adventure?
As if our own family's losses in 2011 were not effective teaching tools, we are learning or relearning how to put one foot in front of the other. We're learning to press on. Our loved ones we have lost have the easy part of the deal, as they are not suffering one bit & to them this time apart is but a tiny, fleeting blip in time. Those of us still here are the ones with the greater trial to remain faithful, to remember them but to also continue living life vividly.
Our adventures are in the baby steps.
They're in dedicating the "Zactus" to our friend's memory (only cactus on the entire property, and he found it one night while on a see-how-close-one-can-possibly-get-before-the-barking-dogs-get-Mr-LKP-out-on-the-porch recon mission.... he dropped right down on top of it. Until now, I had been wanting it removed so no one else would get hurt -- but now, none of us want it gone).
New adventures are in the joy of a win for our lost friend's football team, in winning school basketball games in honor of our dear ones, and in losing other games with our dignity in tact.
The adventures are in developing new talents & discovering new ways to put old talents to use, like shooting pictures at a young single adult church dance or custom-designing holiday cards for clients. There's even adventures in finally getting our Christmas tree up, 8 days before Christmas (all-time Ranch record for the latest our tree ever gone up).
The greatest of the adventures has been talking & hugging & crying & finding the silver lining together as a family.
These things may seem insignificant to onlookers, but to us the baby steps are HUGE accomplishments and definitely adventures. If you can't grow from & enjoy the steps you take in life, then why bother?
So please, this holiday season and especially going into a new year, consider following in Ebeneezer Scrooge's life-changing footsteps. Evaluate what & who is really most important in your life. Hold those dear ones close while you still have them. Make the extra effort to help repair broken hearts. Hold the hands of those who are struggling with grief, loss, illness, or despair. Go out of your way to tell & show your love for your family. Cherish every single moment as the gift that it is. Follow the example of Jesus Christ.
As this year closes, please know that each of you have blessed our lives. We are grateful for the many ways we have grown and thrived due to so many blessings. We hope you can recognize the variety of ways you have touched our hearts.
Thank you, and Merry Christmas!