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This was a year where I am struggling to finish strong. Most of the year seemed oddly charmed. For example, I woke up every day last summer knowing the day would bring nothing but wonderful times, adventures, and smiles. If I could pick one photo to exemplify 2011, until August 13th, it would be:

Note the gauzy sun, the duckies, the wild sunshine, the peace.

I feel self-conscious about this and apologetic for bringing it up again, but. Then we found Jeffrey.

There has never been a moment when I, when we, have been confronted with something more shocking and sad. He is burned into my memory, sewn into my quilt. I will never forget his face or his story and rational or not, I felt a strange responsibility for him.

I’ve never shared this, but the man who stayed with me until the police arrived said, “I think you that you are giving him something he never had in life.”

And then the man left, fading into a crowd with his bicycle.

Ever since, I’ve felt like I am overcoming and plodding a bit. In the last month, I’ve developed health issues. In fact, I am having surgery tomorrow. I’ll be in the hospital overnight. 2011 is ending in one of the most helpless ways possible. I will be put to sleep, repaired, and then cared for by others.

I am not finishing strong. And by not finishing strong, I’ll begin a new year weak. Perhaps that’s the best way to start the next trip around the sun? Strength is gathered and stored, built upon, made better than ever.

Happy New Year.

7 comments to 2011

  • Gretchen, although you may not feel physically strong, and mentally drained from that experience, you are still strong. Strength is measured not in muscles, but in experiences, and how we handle them. What you have done in this past year is strong and amazing. I think all the time about how much I admire you. I think you are an exquisite person and I don’t even “know” you.

    I pray for your health… and the surgeons… and a quick and easy recovery from whatever it is that ails you. Know that you are in my thoughts.

    Continue to be strong *you*…

  • 2 cor 12:9…I can’t help but think of that.

    “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness, therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power me rest on me.”

    Of course I butchered it with commas…ignore those.

    Praying His power rests on you today, tomorrow and all of 2012.


  • *may rest on me.”

    Who needs to proof read!?! Oh yeah…me.

  • Amy

    Praying for a speedy recovery and that in your weakness, He may be strong.

    Happy New Year!

  • I thought also of that passage that Sarah quoted.

    For the new year, may the power of those who are praying for you right now bring you peace and strength. Much love and a speedy recovery to you, friend!

  • Wishing you a wonderful New Year Gretchen. I somehow carry part of the burden of your sadness, I’m sorry for that. I hope you have plenty of rest and I know your family will spoil you when you return home.

  • A corporate coach told us once about the seasons in our lives. He related it to projects and teams, but it applies to everything.

    Spring is for renewal and rejuvenation – it is when enthusiasm is highest and excitement about possibilities is rampant.

    Summer is for production. It’s when the meat and potatoes of life happens.

    Fall is for harvesting. It’s when you finish up, wrap up, complete the project or the effort of the time.

    Winter is for reflection. It is for thinking about what you’ve accomplished, what you want to accomplish and rejuvenating your spirit so you can recover enough to head back into spring.

    You may have ended 2011 in a winter moment, but that is all part of the cycle and what will allow you to hit the ground running with full steam ahead in this coming year. It is just as important as the summer months when you are smack in the middle of doing.

    Does that make any sense at all? It resonated with me, so I thought I’d share, but if it’s all hogwash to you – that’s completely fair! 🙂

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