It's Been Quite A Year

Winning does not tempt that man.  This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, 
by greater and greater beings. - Rainer Maria Rilke

A friend recently shared with me that she couldn't wait until a certain day in September to arrive because she had marked that day as the beginning of many of the trials and tribulations she and her family had faced over the last year.  

To reach that date, she believed, would mean that a year of hard things had come to an end, and she could begin looking forward to a new year with new possibilities. 

That made perfect sense to me.  I have my own milestone date in mind as well.  

I was listening to a song by singer/songwriter Ryan O'Neal the other day, and these lyrics touched me deeply:  
God, it has been quite a year-
I've lived a little bit and I've died a little more.
I know that I've asked it before,
But please let the scale tip here in my favor.
I always feel a bit guilty praying a prayer like that, considering all of the incredible blessings I have in my life.   But still... if I'm striving for authenticity and honesty, I have to say that I'm looking forward to putting the hard things of this past year behind me.

To be fair, there have been great graces this past year in addition to the hard things.  The graces bring me to my knees with a sense of gratitude that is overwhelming and humbling.  

There have been some moments over the past year when I've felt like I have hardly anything left to offer to God.  And still, God keeps giving.  I recently read a quote by Carolyn Weber that sums up that feeling:  
When we give to God, he replenishes us in return.  And the grace of it all is that he often does so even when we haven't given or haven't given all that much. 
If you are marking your own milestones today--looking forward to a difficult season to come to an end, and something new and life-giving to begin--take heart.  

Even in the moments when you feel the most empty, God is continually pouring life and love into you.  Be open to receiving it.  And be at peace. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 

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