Happy New Year,
I received a Christmas card from my best friend from high school the other day, normally both of us are kind of late on them and we receive each other’s after Christmas but I have to say I got his written and mailed so he should have received his about now also (this is a few days before Christmas that I’m writing this). He is one of those friends that most years we don’t see or hear from each other more than once or twice a year anymore, but we do write a long letter to at Christmas time. I was reminded when I was writing to him of Hurricane Harvey, as he lives in Galveston, TX, towards the gulf from Houston. One of the regrets from the last year was that I should have contacted him during the flooding to see how they were doing, I know they hadn’t been hurt by storms in the past, but Harvey was different (they had no flooding or water damage at their home), that’s one of the things I should do different next year.
Of course he wrote about his oldest son who went off to college this year and his youngest son who just entered high school, but his letter obviously had a bunch about Harvey. The biggest part was about his wife, Jodi, and how well she did at helping others affected by the flooding. He mentioned how a group of friends would go to one of their homes that needed to be cleaned out, all the wet things removed, and quickly to avoid mold. And inevitably while they were there they would find a stranger in the area that also needed help and go there next. Jodi was quickly recognized as the leader because she was decisive and knew things had to be taken care of, but she could also talk with the people who live there, getting their approval/direction, and help them through what needed to get done and get it done. Special qualities Jodi had that came together perfectly for this situation that made her captain of their recovery team.
And Jodi was impressed with the high school kids and all they did. Especially just sending one off to college she knew the focus on college applications and resumes and yet none of the kids were worried about documenting their help as service work, they were clearly there to help people that they could.
Writing to him, and thinking of Harvey, made me remember that we didn’t have a natural disaster this year but were blessed with a different type of natural event that got all of our attention, the eclipse. Or as we realize here what was important was the ‘path of totality’ and how long you were in it. It was such a big topic in the summer, how did we let it affect our lives that still matters today?
As we look back over the past year what do we remember the most, the tragedies or the selfless acts that people did in response to them? Do we focus on what we missed or the blessings we received? For most of us there were challenges and sadness, but also joy and love. Especially as we celebrate New Years in the Christmas season hopefully we can reflect on the past and see the many ways God was with us through this last year, and be ready to see the opportunities to receive him and to bring him to others in the year to come. Have a Happy New Year.