I have to say a few things first. My friend Steve Allen needs to stop reading right now and if my friends John Ames is reading, he might want to do the same. And I’m putting up a warning in general: it’s not a happy post, at least not the second half.
That being said, I really wonder if us putting a new calendar on the wall and watching a very expensive crystal ball drop is going to mean a happy New Year.
I know some good things have happened this year and will in 2009. Before people tell me about count my blessings, the glass is half full, and a positive outlook will make the sun shine, I’ll say it for them.
- I found a lump in my breast; I was luckier than many, it turned out okay and I just have to have regular tests.
- I have a job. It’s a sucky job; demoralizing, a career killer, and having no future whatsoever, but some people would take that now. I’ve been in their shoes four different times; I know how they are feeling.
- I have my husband and we want to make a better life for ourselves, including the behavior that we can control to improve the things we can.
- We had a wonderful vacation with so many good friends. It was days filled with laughter and warmth.
- I have my house and my car. Some families, having lost their jobs and with an ever increasing economy going down the drain, are homeless now.
- I’m pretty healthy. My friend Marla is not. And because she has no health insurance (like so many millions of Americans, her job does not provide it and she can’t afford it, especially since her illness makes it impossible to work most of the time, so her paycheck is the same amount of a Starbucks cup of coffee.), her trying to get well causes laughter in the medical community. But her trying to get some kind of supported health care makes other Americans call her a bum and a loser.
- I have friends like Marla and Eowyn who say I changed their lives for the better.
- I’ve been able to help with some wonderful organizations. Oasis found homes for some animals and rescued others; I was part of that. I help a Humane Society chapter by doing their website, getting the news out about their animals that need help. And some friends and I gave donations to charity as our gifts to each other this year.
- I became a member of All Ears Net. This may not mean much to some, but I’ve met people and see the emails from others on how we provide a wonderful light in dark days or help a family get relief on a trip when they need it most. Plus, I’m in a group of extraordinary people who not only make me feel welcome and are so much fun, but are inspirational.
- I have three furballs who make me smile. And cuddle close when I’m hurting.
So I haven’t forgotten the lectures and sayings about “Gray skies are going to clear up. Put on a happy face!”
Now here’s the other part of reality. It does exist and can’t be ignored.
That’s my mom. You can guess what she is celebrating: Happy New Year – 2008. And it was going to be a great New Year. She was turning 80 and had wonderful plans for her birthday. She was also going to take a paddleboat cruise on the Mississippi and hoped to take a scrapbooking cruise. She would have a new great-grandchild on the way. She had started new projects and had wonderful goals. Her cardiologist would tell her how great she was doing and she had no worries with her health.
Instead, on June 29th, 2008….
I made wonderful plans and goals to improve myself and my life in 2008 too, to undo the problems that I’ve caused myself and do what I can to make the world a little better. Instead….
Well, instead, it wasn’t a happy new year. The bads outweighed the goods.
Life is not fair. And it is not easy. Many, many times, it’ll kick you in the head. Sometimes, something like this photo comes along and teaches me that lesson for real, instead of as an abstract thought. My nephew is in the hospital; he has no health insurance either, so he can’t get the surgery he needs to fix the damage to his hand so it will work. My brother-in-law just got out of the hospital, he also has permanent damage to a hand that means he doesn’t have full use anymore. Another nephew was just pushed of the house by his wife. People I know are afraid for their jobs or, even with jobs, don’t know how they’re going to make it. My friend Marla is still ill. My friend Steve just lost HIS mom; my friend Margie lost her best friend, her sister, 3 weeks ago. The list goes on and on.
The economy is really hosed and the job market is terrible; it’s going to take a long time, longer than 2009 to get improvement.
So I hope it will be a happy new year in 2009, but I just wonder if it will be.