Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve (Friday Five)

Singing Owl posts the following at RevGals:

<I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions, but it does seem a good time for some reflection and planning. For the last few days I keep thinking of Psalm 90:12: So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Among other things, that seems to say that reflection is in order if we want to learn and grow.

For some of us, this has been an incredibly difficult year; for others it has been a year of many joys. For all of us, there have been challenges and questions and there have been blessings and--maybe even an answer or two! As we say our goodbyes to 2010 and look towards 2011, share with us five blessings from 2010 along with five hopes or dreams for 2011.>>

From 2010:

1.  My seminary BFF, whose joyful expression of her gifts is a wonder to behold, and without whom I would not have made it through the second two sad and agonizing years of a program to which I had looked forward with such anticipation.  She is re-taking ords in a couple of weeks, so prayers are in order.

2.  The professor who struggled to get me through an impossible independent study (Freedom and Grace?  WHAT was I thinking?); taught a couple of courses that have had a huge impact on my thinking about the church, about theology, about Scripture, and about experience; and continues to challenge and assist me in articulating the impact of my son's death for call committees.  (Are you out there, call committees?)

3.  The fact that each of my two surviving children, two years after their brother's death, have made successful forays into graduate programs and seem to be thriving in them. Their health, their energy, their hopefulness.  Their alive-ness.  Their very lives.

4.  The compassion and wisdom of the three Jesuits who spent time,  in different contexts, helping me sort through the wreckage of grief and accompanying me toward what I now see as the frontier of the life I could never have expected.

5.  My week on retreat at Wernersville and our week right now on Cedar Key: times of sunlight and prayer and restoration and re-orientation.

 Great Egret, Cedar Key FL

6.  (Five is not quite enough) The amazing friends, online and in person and both, who have shared their own life horrors and struggles and listened to mine, who have shared their thoughts and their books and their writing and their own movements forward and backward and around, so that all over the place little pools of community have grown, reflecting hope and determination.

7. The astonishing gift of a multitude of opportunities to minister, in churches and in spiritual direction, and the welcoming hospitality of so many people whom I've had the privilege of serving, when I had thought that I was completely washed up, finished, and done for.

It seems that there have been a lot more than five blessings in this year that has been so impossibly difficult.  Who knew?

Five hopes or dreams for 2011:

1. That my children and husband will continue to move forward in their own lives, integrating loss and hope and finding paths toward the future.

2.  That a call to ordained ministry is percolating out there somewhere.

3.  That another week at Wernersville is waiting for me.

4.  That I will figure out what to do with the stack of writing on suicide and loss and spirituality that has been piling up and for which a vision is beginning to form.

5.  That all of us for whom loss is so omnipresent will begin or continue to find hope.

Two years ago I could not stand to listen to music.  Really, you cannot imagine what it means to me to write about hope as if it is a real thing in my own life.

Thanks, Singing Owl, for this nudge.


  1. Somehow had not seen your blog before although I see we read many of the same ones. What a beautiful post,and I wish you continued hope in the New Year. And I'm sure there's a call out there for you!

  2. Robin, I feel such joy for you reading this post. It feels as though God has drawn the pieces of your life together in a way that you are held up. I am reminded of a quote that kept me looking up when I went through a horrendous period in my life: I am weaving a parachute out of everything broken. Your post evokes that quote. May the year ahead tremble with continued blessings unknown, and healing to pull you forward.

  3. I love that image - a parachute out of everything broken.

  4. There is something so healing about the sea. It is never a choice we would make to lose someone precious and it never makes any sense. I have lost close friends to suicide and the only thing that came close to helping understand was that it was the decision that she and he made in the moment of despair and not the total of their lives. I join in with others, hoping and praying for the grief you are wading through.

  5. My heart feels very full and tender after reading this beautiful post. Thank you, Robin.

  6. Oh Robin, this brought tears to my eyes. I understand what you meant about music. Praying with and for you as you journey onward! (((Hugs and blessings)))) How I wish I could sit with you for some Ignatius-inspired spiritual direction!

  7. hope, fragile but exquisite and emerging. loved reading this.

  8. Wishing you many more blessings in 2011.

  9. we started 2011 by walking in relative warmth to our favorite diner. digging that egret!!!!

  10. May the healing and hope continue. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  11. what they said ... you are a blessing! thank you.

  12. Thank God for new possibilities, hope among them.

  13. Hearing hope in ways that I haven't heard from you since Josh's death. Great way to enter the frontier of this new year.