364 days have now passed in 2007.

I woke up early this morning for a vacation day and no alarm. I found myself lying there thinking about the past 364 days. There is much to ponder. I got up and made coffee instead.

It’s hard to spend time in a past that is painful. It’s also tempting to just look back on all that was good and choose to overlook the tough stuff. For me, at least, there’s a lot of both. I can’t, nor do I want to escape either. The irony is that the things that have been most painful have also been rife with beauty, growth, love, and life.

The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief
But the pain of grief
Is only a shadow
When compared with the pain
Of never risking love.
(Hilary Stanton Zunin)

I have risked much. I have loved much. These past 364 days, pain has been rife in both.

I have never known the levels of sadness that have accompanied this year. And I have not been overwhelmed.

In the midst of circumstances and realities I was certain would drown me, I have kept afloat.

The tears I was sure would keep me from ever getting out of bed again have not been uncontrollable torrents, but gentle and kind reminders that I do feel, that I do care, that I do desire, that I do love.

The endings that I imagined as incomprehensible and even impossible have brought understanding and possibility I couldn’t have imagined. I feared death – not physical, but nearly every other sense of the word – and have known life.

Despite a large aspect of the past year’s reality and reflection: I am not alone. Neither death nor pain have conquered me.

Life returns.

Love wins.

364 days have passed. At the end of today 2008 will begin. I am grateful for both.

Time to pour another cup of coffee…