As I recall it, the year 2009 rolled in with the same sense of newness and imminent possibilities shimmering on its horizon as I feel this 2010 January season. Of course, the year 2009 itself, while filled with those pockets of deep joy life seems to dish out in all the seemingly mundane moments, also proved to be full of hairpin turns and harrowing valleys I could not have anticipated.
Like many in our nation, I faced the first lay-off I've ever experienced in my personal employment history. Directly on the heels of the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy announcements (two of our major clients), one-third of the partnership in our corporation broke off into its own company, and our business could not rally under those three daunting blows. After seven years of dedicated faithfulness to my company, and despite seniority, I was laid off and joined the overflowing masses of the unemployed. (Faithfulness and seniority do not help pay a corporation's electric bills, and all the hard-work in the world cannot generate a case-load out of thin air.)
At the time, however, as deep as the job loss frustration was, it was small potatoes compared to the devastating hits my family was taking on other fronts. The coming months would find me diagnosed with arsenic poisoning, Babesia, Errlichia, and chronic disseminated Lyme Disease: medical conditions I barely (if at all) knew existed prior to 2009. As a result of those diagnoses, our adoption agency would close our adoption file, and my doctors would recommend we not continue our plans to grow our family biologically. Our daughter, who was under two, would be put through a myriad of her own doctor visits and tests, due to my medical conditions, to determine whether I'd passed them on to her in utero...and she would experience her first seizure.
My husband would struggle to keep this family afloat financially, emotionally, and spiritually while facing his own physical challenges: foot surgery, the discovery of food allergies, and chellation to help preserve his one functioning kidney.
While our family's struggles this past year are not necessarily unique struggles to humankind, nor even the most daunting a family has ever faced, they did carry with them all the uniqueness one bundle of human stresses can: They were OURS. Ours alone. Our unique combination. Our unique set of weaknesses, strengths, resources, tools, and faith to help us or hinder us in tackling and overcoming them.
And, in that sense this blog will be both unique and universal. It will be my perspective on my unique family's struggles, not just this past year, but the ones we face in the coming year(s)... but I suspect that as you read, you will see that in many ways, the heart of our emotional and spiritual struggles/victories have been yours as well...in your life's personal valleys and mountaintops.