Happy New Year!

I do not want to look back. I do not want to count my blessings from the past year because it means 2017 is even further away, that the time in my life when Celeste was alive is even further away.

One year ago, my husband and I looked back in 2017 and thought, “O God, we hope next year is better.” We sat in silence when it was time to recollect the good things from the year. Our daughter died. Our son was very, very ill and moved to the PICU that July. Everything was survival. Everything was gray. Everything was the crawling out a hole, a foxhole, perhaps. We were alive, but what else did we have?

I spent the second half of the year living at home instead of the hospital as our son turned the corner in his condition. I spent the second half of the year writing up a storm, published here and there, building wonderful connections about town and feeling moved to tears by the stories I heard during interviews. I searched for my place at home, in my children’s lives, and in ministry. Everything we developed shifted during 2018. It did not diminish; it grew.

The writing continues but shifted in focus to a book to be published this year: a dream come true. Ministry continues and is changing in surprising ways beginning with cantering mass for the first time with my organ-grinding husband: his dream come true. We have an offer and accepted contingent on the sale of our current house for a property with 1.2 acres of land and lots of building space for our office and studio and who knows, a jazz club, in the future; two dreams in one.

How can all this happen?

Marriage strong. Older children emotionally stable. Peter strong. Friendships strong and in those friendships with less strength, at least there is greater clarity than in the past.

How can this be?

“There would come a time when God would fill what he had emptied…”

I read those words, copied in Mother Teresa’s writings, collected and published in Come by my Light. Those words were my light, although I never knew how it could be possible.

But here we are.

We do not deserve it. At that expression, one of my dearest friends said, “don’t apologize for God’s blessings!”

And it is true.

God answers prayers. Peter’s condition was worse than expected when he was diagnosed in utero. Celeste was not born alive. Peter was not healed physically following the Beatification mass we took him to in 2017 to pray for a miracle. But a miracle occurred before we even could have been aware of it, bringing into his life our personal hero, a woman, a friend who dedicated her whole heart to his care.

I live in the awareness that tomorrow everything could change. And yet, even then, God provides.

Two years of trial. It feels like we are back to living in the world of roses, but I grasp that it is only that way because of perspective. We still have a dresser full of medical supplies and appointments in San Francisco this week. In a week I will struggle to meet deadlines (I am struggling right now with something due tomorrow!). I will return back to a state of exasperation when Kyle returns to work and our homeschooling vacation ends.

But it is good. It is full. It is greater than anything we ever could have hoped for.

God fulfilled his promise.

And now, I’m wishing you all a very happy New Year.