I love this time of year.
When the Christmas madness has settled, and the world seems to quieten and catch it's breath, where our thoughts turn inwards, reflecting on the year that was, and the year-to-come.
(That is, unless you are one of those people that lined up before dawn, then jostled and elbowed your way through the masses, just so you could get a 30% discount on perfumes, in the boxing day sales...In which case, you're thoughts are probably turning towards the credit card bill that will inevitably arrive in January.)
2010 was a life-changing year for me.
And funnily enough. I knew it was going to be. Right from New Years Day, 2010, I felt that change was coming. I just didn't know how.
I was planning how I would finish the last two modules of my accounting studies, but, strangely, now I was so close to finishing I just could not seem to get excited about the fact.
I hungered to know what my "calling" was. I wanted to be doing something meaningful. I wanted to change lives!!
I got what I wanted. I found my "calling". And it was so big and impossible and frightening, that I resisted. I made some excuses. I conjured up all the reasons why I couldn't.
But I knew I had to.
Because I couldn't not.
And in the midst of my ditherings, my husband injured himself at work.
At first, it was just a sprained knee. A minor inconvenience. But then it didn't get better. It got worse. His leg ballooned up and turned an unhealthy purple colour. He was in excruciating pain.
More x-rays. The doctor took a sample of the fluid. It was blood. There was huge amounts of blood pooling in his legs, due to internal bleeding in the knee.
His doctor sat us down, and sombrely explained that the x-rays had showed up a growth in the knee that looked a sarcoma (cancer).
Weeks went by. The swelling gradually eased. Yes, it looked like cancer. No, maybe not. But, then again...
A major operation. Still no closure. A biopsy was sent to Sydney.
Finally. After more than a month. The result: Not cancer. A benign growth in the synovial lining of the knee.
Another operation. But first he needed at least two months to recover from the first one.
I could not forsee how much it would test my patience, to be in each others presence, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. Week after week, he laid in front of the TV. We squabbled over the smallest of things. We grumbled. We grated each other's nerves. I had to drive him everywhere - he criticised my driving.
I contemplated taking the kids and simply walking out, and leaving his cranky, irritable self to his own devices. But I couldn't. After all, a marriage vow is for sickness too, not just just when life is sweet and rosy.
We were staring down the barrel of months without income, a mortgage to pay, and little mouths to feed. And still, there was this....vision...I just could not shake. I had work to be done. I had to go out and start teaching people what I knew.
But how could I possibly do it now? Each time I thought about how impossible it was, a little voice inside me said "O ye of little faith!"
It made more sense to simply get a job. So, I applied for some, in the finance industry. I got called in for an interview. My heart sank. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt - this was not what I wanted.
I cancelled the interview, and instead I got out the credit card and enrolled to study kinesiology.
I am now on my third module in my Kinesiology studies. The more I learn, the more I am astounded by the human body, and the more convinced I am that we were created for health, not sickness.
My husband is back on his feet and feeling good, but STILL not back to work. They told him not to come back until his doctor told him he is 100% fit and healthy. Our income has almost ground to a halt.
As I write, our bank balance is showing -0.77c, there are 5 bills waiting to be paid, the car is on empty, and the credit cards are at their limit. I'm struggling to have faith. I'm struggling to not feel like this is a bit unfair, when all I wanted to do was devote my time to helping people.
But yesterday, as I was feeling thoroughly miserable about the -77cents situation, the news came through, that Lori, a young mummy blogger with two little ones, had lost her husband after a brave but short battle for his life. Talk about unfair.
What is -77cents after all? What's a few bills after all? We still have each other, don't we...
And while my heart was feeling heavy for Lori, and what she must be facing now, the news was coming through from Queensland, of walls of water washing people away, of people stranded on their rooftops, of people drowned. Talk about unfair.
If 2011 is going to be a tough year for us, then it's going to be even tougher for others...
So my heart goes out to everyone who have lost loved ones. To all those who've lost their homes, and their livelihoods. And to Lori, and her babies.
Stay safe, everyone.