This year, however, I was smacked in the face by the appearance of 2012. I mean it. Sister and I were sitting at our front windows watching the neighbors shoot off fireworks (it was nice: we got to see a beautiful show without spending any money or putting on pants). They started at about 10:00 pm and then took a break. We went back to our TV show and a while later, we heard more cracks and pops and rushed to the window to see the next act.
Sister asked, "Is it midnight already?"
I looked at the clock and it was 12:04, so I said, "Happy 2012!"
And she replied, "May it be so much better than 2011!"
We made jokes about having jobs and also having jobs that DIDN'T suck in 2012. And then one of us made the Friends quote about "NO DIVORCES IN 99!"
And then all of the sudden, I wanted to weep. Because 2011 sucked in a big way. It had some really great moments and cannot beat 2010 for the emotional scarring I went through. But 2011 still really bit it. Here are just a few examples:
- I moved (temporarily) to an island town that I hate, for a job that was both amazingly fulfilling and also soul-sucking.
- My beautiful niece fell off her changing table and hit the back of her head and neck on the near-by bed frame, leaving all of us in a panic about concussions and brain injuries and her life never being the same again. She recovered well and by her first birthday only a few weeks later, it seemed as if it had never happened (thankyouthankyouthankyou, Jesus!), except for the terrified memories her parents still hold and the chest tightening the rest of us experience when it's mentioned.
- After years of searching, our church hired a new Youth and Family Pastor and Brother, Sister-In-Law, Sister, and I were incredibly relieved to have the burden of Youth Group on a paid staff person's shoulders and that we could return to being ONLY volunteers. Less than a month after hiring said pastor, our church had to fire him. And even though it was for perfectly legitimate reasons and none of us wanted him to stay, Youth Group got difficult again.
- Sister got fired for reasons we still do not understand.
- Brother and Sister-In-Law went to California for a month, so that Brother could have a fourth sinus surgery, since the three others (two within the last four months) had not solved the excruciating headaches and vision changes. This surgery did not entirely solve the problem either, but he's doing okay.
- My grandmother, my beloved Nana, was admitted to the hospital for internal organ failure and sepsis after a too-long-undiscovered bowel perforation, where she stayed (gravitating between fighting and getting stronger to being completely uncommunicative and needing three of her major body systems controlled by machines and medicines and back again) for over 6 weeks before her body gave up and she went to be with Jesus.
- I returned home from my relocation and stayed with the job, even though my pay had been cut significantly without my knowledge and without explanation and even though my coworker sabotaged me at every step and I was bored out of my mind.
- My best friend asked me if I would be willing to be Godmother to her son and to any future children she and her husband may have (one of which is due to make his or her appearance in August 2012). This is the highest honor anyone has ever given to me and also one of the most humbling things I have ever experienced. I pray that my role of Godmother will only ever be figurative and that my relationship with him remain Auntie Elise. Not because I would hesitate to take him if anything ever happened to her and her husband, but because I pray NOTHING ever happens to her and her husband.
- I started this blog, which has been a constant source of joy (and an occasional source of guilt...) in my life and is one of the highlights of my year. I joined Twitter soon after and found that my job was more bearable because of all of the strangers willing to stab my boss for me if I ever needed it.
- Every job that Sister applied for disappeared without explanation--not that other people got them, but that the jobs/positions CEASED TO EXIST for various strange reasons.
- Roommate visited Far North for the first (and maybe last? I hope not) time and we had a WONDERFUL ten days together. I constantly miss her, but it is much easier to deal with if I have seen her in the last six months--we've recently passed this threshold and I am planning a visit to her place in February, as long as I can find some money.
- I bought an AWESOME PURPLE COUCH!
- Things became more strained at work and I experienced several ethical dilemmas before coming to the conclusion that I needed to quit and distance myself from the emotional devastation and the bad behavior of my boss and coworker that might damage my future career prospects.
- I realized I have put on ALMOST ALL of the weight I had lost at the end of college, meaning most of my clothing do not fit and I have hit the lowest self-esteem point in years.
- I developed a belated case of SNOW ANXIETY that I continue to battle with.
- Biggest Brother struggled to finish his PhD in a series of frustrating circumstances, heaped on top of years of frustrating circumstances. His wife and daughter had to move across the country without him for several weeks because of these frustrating circumstances.
- Things got worse at work AFTER I quit and the problems followed me into the next month and are things I really wished I could blog about but are secret, so I ended up writing an angry and vague post entitled CAPSLOCKTRAINWRECK.
- Biggest Brother finished his PhD! Now he and his wife and daughter have settled into their new home across the country and--
- BABY NUMBER TWO IS ON ITS WAY!
- Oh, and?
- SISTER GOT A JOB!!! Today is her first day.
As you can see, 2011 had its ups and downs, with a lot of BIG downs. Most of these things were unexpected and many of them were unwelcome. I know this sounds like I'm focusing on all the negative and I AM grateful for all of the blessings I have received over the year, including the ability to quit my job and survive financially for several months. This was just a pretty rough year, not just for me, but for many of the people closest to me. And I can't help but think that any resolution I would have made would not have been accomplished in 2011.
So as 2012 breaks over the horizon, I will not make resolutions. But I will whisper a small prayer:
Lord, please bless my family and keep them safe. Let us not lose anyone this year, but let us add to our number, even many times over. Place good men and women in authority over us, that we may be fulfilled by our daily work and earn enough money to keep us well-fed, well-housed, and able to give to others. Grant us health and fitness, that our bodies would be better able to serve You and bring You glory. Let us not wander away from You, that when difficulty comes, we may lean on You for strength and guidance. We praise you because we are fearfully and wonderfully made and we know that Your plans for us are for good, for hope, and for a future. So, Lord, please let 2012 be a year of hope and goodness.