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“January Feels Heavy.”

January 25, 2018

Cathy Obernuefemann is a friend in real life. She’s active in our church, recently wrote this, and gave me gracious permission to share it with you—

January feels heavy.
A death in the family.Anniversaries of two more family deaths.
The birthdays of two others who are no longer with us.
A trip that was wonderful but I had to come home a different way than expected that took longer. I lost sleep, time with my family, and (it felt like) a few brain cells.
I hear of deaths, tragedies, freak accidents, families losing their homes and belongings to devastating fires, and people dealing with medical uncertainties.

I write this not to seek sympathy but to let anyone know who is feeling the heaviness of life that you are not alone.

Years ago when I started writing articles for our church newsletter, one of my first ones was about trees. I used to hate winter, I said. No color. Black and white. Cold. Depressing. My beloved trees stripped bare.

I long for the sun.
I long for warmer temps.
I long to see green sprouts.
I long to hear the birds chirping their happiness.

But one winter I realized the beauty of the bare tree branches. Like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. Their splendor does not lie just in the green leaves but also in the unique structure underneath…that we can’t see when covered.

Perhaps we are like the trees – our inner beauty shining through when stripped bare.
So despite the heavy feeling, I refuse to stay in an emotional cave but instead choose to focus on the good. I have learned to embrace what is in front of me. We do ourselves no good by longing for the past or a different situation unless it is in our control.

Our oldest son turned 13 on the 1st. Our youngest son crossed over into Boy Scouts yesterday. These are huge milestones to be celebrated!

A celebration of life brought many cousins together.

A benefit breakfast was held for a family. It is beautiful to see a community come together.

Someone dealing with a devastating cancer diagnosis received good news about a promising drug treatment.

No line at the security check on my outbound flight. And a shuttle driver who immediately took care of me upon my arrival at baggage.

A wonderful trip to Atlanta that I enjoyed that was like a family reunion of friends from all over the country. And I stepped out of my comfort zone and went 20 stories up on an observation wheel! And no cooking, cleaning, or laundry for me for four days! 😀 And did I mention the joys of eating southern cooking? Key lime pie, sweet potato pie…yum…and yes, greens and black eyed peas.

A friend who was willing and able to change plans on how to get home so we could do it together. Despite the bad weather, the roads were near perfect, and we had a smooth trip, spending many hours getting to know each other better and praising Jesus together through song.

Good health (that has not always been the case in January).

A husband and family who are flexible and supportive.

If you have read this in its entirety, bless you. Writing is part of my therapy (other than music).

— How about you? As January starts to wind down, how’s your 2018 so far? As those early Methodists asked one another, “How is it with your soul?”

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