How do you measure a year?
This well known song from the Broadway musical Rent recently had a new meaning to me. It has been a full year since June 23, 2017 – I did one of my rare blog posts that day only to come home that evening to find my home filled with smoke. A strong wind blew my neighbor’s willow tree over that took out my neutral power line – causing 240 watts to charge through my house. Many things were destroyed from the surge, but the worst was a small fire that started in my home office. Fortunately the fire was contained, but the smoke filled the house for hours. I was not home when it happened. Small fires most often cause sever smoke damage – I realized that first hand one year ago.
In daylights? In sunsets? In midnights? In cups of coffee? In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?
Since that day, so many things have happened to measuring this past year. I moved out for two weeks – with my two dogs and two cats – while the home was cleaned. Daylights, sunsets, midnights passed and many cups of coffee (and wine) got me through those days. Friends were there for me to share laughter, tears, and even a few honest dissagreements to wake me up from my self-induced myopic view of my strife. I was so consumed with my struggle, I failed to see what a few friends were facing as well.
Reconstruction was a challenge. The contractor that the insurance company suggested I use walked off the job leaving my office with exposed walls, no drywall and so much to be replaced. Fortunately I found an outstanding contractor who was able to finish the work, but on weekends and evenings. The reconstruction was complete on August 19th. Eight weeks after the fire, my home was finally restored. Except for the hundreds of boxes that had to be unpacked.
Before I could open one box, my attention was moved to my father. At 96 years of age, he had been declining in health all year. By August 20th he had in home hospice caring for him and on August 26th, three days before his 97th birthday, he died.
How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of love.
My father lived a long, good life. I was so blessed to have him in my life so long. My mother died in September of 2010. With my father gone, for a while I felt orphaned. Alone in the world. But my parents loved my sister and me deeply. They taught us the meaning of love. My mother was the most selfless person I have ever known. My father was fiercely loyal. They showed me love is a verb.
After I got my father’s estate in order, I turned back to my home. I set a target date of October 31st to finish unpacking. To hold myself accountable, I scheduled a “FriendsGiving” dinner the first weekend in November to thank a few close friends who were there for me when I was at my worst. They are definitely units of measurement of love in my life.
Then I rented a 20 yard dumpster and filled it in four days. I cleared out the junk. That was a physical action, but it also sparked an emotional cleansing as well. Toxic relationships are gone. Close friends who I had fallen away from are restored. Life is too short to hold grudges or waste time on things that will never be.
It’s time now to sing out, though the story never ends. Let’s celebrate remember a year in a life of friends.
With the new year of 2018, the past six months have been wonderful. Not that I haven’t had some setbacks. Running is my way of dealing with stress. Even though I shouldn’t run with arthritis in my left foot, I ran anyway. Now my knee is acting up. I haven’t cycled outside all year. But that hasn’t stopped me from working out. I have made modifications and I am in physical therapy. I may be able to run a few miles a week and get my bike on the road before the end of summer.
The good – I learned to ski and love it. Along the way I have also made a few new friends through skiing, I visited a few old friends to go skiing – both in New York and Colorado. I have been sharpening my cooking skills – more on that in future blog posts. I have made time for friends – my vacations are centered around it this year. I want to go visit those dear to me who live far away. Family time is important and last week I was thrilled to celebrate my cousin’s wedding. My extended family has seen each other at funerals more than anything the past few years. Having a wedding to celebrate love was the perfect way to cap off the past five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.
Remember the love. You know the love is a gift from up above. Remember the love. Share love, give love, spray love, measure your life in love.