Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy (re-do) New Year!

2012, Farewell, Farewell!
2013, Salute!

My mother and I decided our New Year begins today, on this bright and brisk Sunday.

2012 was so busy - too busy? - and the living of life once again kept me away from the pensive re-living of life on these pages.  One of my (many) New Year's Resolutions is to change that.  Reflection and discernment is good, and these pages serve that purpose for me.  But more about the future in a moment.

2012.  So much to record.
I wrote a guidebook called The Jewels of the Cathedral (it can be yours today, just visit here!)  It's 50 pages of pictures and simple explanation about the gorgeous and evocative stained glass windows in the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.  It was a labor of love, a gift to others and to myself, a fulfillment of many years of wonder, and a first-step toward a hope for an even bigger project.  It was a chance to "nerd-out," to lose myself in the joy of something I love to love, to share with my mother, with the amazing friends who sat down and listened when I got going about who this Pope was, or this Saint, or where this face came from.
And beyond the joy of creation and sharing, I found the most amazing happiness in the friends that still surprise me - the friends who sat to listen while I waxed eloquent about the radiant windows of a church they've never seen.  Some friends who believe in the news heralded by those windows, and several who don't at all, but believed in my passion.  Friend who sat down and flipped through every page, not because they believe in Christ, but because they believe in me.  What a gift.
Michaela and Francesco got hitched in Tuscany, in a glorious, blazingly hot, wonderfully bi-national celebration of love and joy and friendship and hope.  Off I flew, first to explore Croatia with Tracy, and then to paint Florence red (Florence has the distinct history of having been painted by many remarkable people over the centuries, hasn't it!?) with the most remarkable friends, whom I have known since I was 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 - We all knew and loved each other before we knew and loved ourselves.

I made new friends.  I have lots of friends - so many.  I love to be a friend.  I love to be forgetful and thoughtful, inspirational and ridiculous, I love to let my world be colored and shaped and changed because I open my life to the remarkable friendship of people who are both like me and so much unlike me.  (Sometimes I wonder - perhaps God has not seen fit to send me a dashing and wonderful man yet because he's still sculpting me and others by fostering these fantastic friendships?)
Allison, my darling girl, was the friend I never thought I'd befriend.  She took (and continues to take) my ridiculous preconceptions and turned them upside down.  Her value is unquantifiable because we see the world in such different ways, but always are willing to see it through each other's eyes with patience and wonder - and this always leads to small enlightenments.  And now she's off to live in Panama, to worship the sun and speak in a new language and enrich her life through the inimitable act of truly living.  Vaya con dios, Chica!

And the Philly 4 - Mags and Jane and Kati and me, celebrating "fundays" once a week, with no two the same, and each conversation new and bubbling and wonderful.
And my B&C.  You know the friends who help make you who you are by forging ahead into one fire after another during the volatile years of life, by never needing you to be more than who you are, and yet challenging you to be more than who you are at the same time.  And now M is back in the mix, saving pups and living life in Center City.

Life is richer for the friends we have in it.
Now - why the do-over New Year's?  Our family pup had to be put to sleep last week.  Our family started off the week by saying goodbye to an amazing and handsome boy, who brought us joy and laughs and mischief and stories and unconditional love for 11 years.  He is missed, he is missed, he is missed.  So mom and I had a talk on Thursday night, and we decided - Our New Year will begin on Sunday.  And it will not be characterized by the loss of someone that meant so much to us.  But instead, Bandit's loss will set us up for a remarkable New Year.  It will be a year of appreciating those we love, of spending time with those who shape our lives and bring us joy, of telling those near and far, new friends and old friends and lost friends and found friends, that they have changed us, that they make us who we are, that they stay with us, that we appreciate them.
I have many New Year's resolutions, but perhaps the biggest of all is the resolution to continue this brilliant mission all year long.

So raise your champagne glass with me one more time, my glorious friends, to 2013, the Year of Appreciation!

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