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“2006, Fore and Aft”

From: Seth Dillingham In Response To: Top of Thread.  
Date Posted: Sunday, January 1, 2006 5:12:16 PM Replies: 0
Enclosures: None.

On the last day of 2004, I was happy to say goodbye to the worst year of my life. The best I could say about it was that it wasn't all bad. That's the year Shane died. The love of my life realized her worst nightmare. Literally, it was the worst possible thing she could ever imagine happening in the whole world. It happened at night, just fifteen miles from our home, without any warning. There was no prickly feeling on the backs of our necks, no goose bumps. None of the people in our life (myself included), who so often anticipate big events, had any freaking clue.

It just happened.

We still don't know why. We may never know why. I am inclined to believe there may not even be a 'why'.

It just happened, and it changed everything. And nothing. Corinne is still here. I'm still here. We're more in love than ever. We trust and understand each other in new ways, and rely on each other for different things. Some things in life matter more than they used to (more on that, in a bit), others matter less. Some of our friends proved themselves to be people of great compassion and empathy... and others not so much. But that's ok; it's only natural that our relationships would change as we do. And we are.

Does everything in life revolve around Shane, still, almost two years later? No. Yes. No. Well, ok, yes. You -- we -- can't possibly understand our lives without it. It plays as big a part as our faith, and in fact the two things have merged in many ways.

Does everything on planet earth really revolve around the sun? Yes, in some very literal ways... but it's not like that's all we think about, right? We don't all hide in our caves on rainy days, but humans sure love to talk about the weather.

For us -- and I know it's not exactly the same for the two of us, but I think it's similar -- there was a second... hmm, I almost want to say a second sun, but that's not right. Let me try that again.

If our life revolved (mostly) around our faith, then that faith was like the sun. When Shane died, that faith was dwarfed, for a time, by the gravity of that new thing. The faith was still there, but this new 'black hole' in our hearts threatened to eat it and us and everything. For a long while, we revolved around that, just trying to survive, trapped in its gravity. (Got that?)

In all the confusion of trying to grasp our new reality, there was a time when everything related to our faith took some blame. Blame the ecclesia, blame God, blame family, blame our marriage. Blame anyone who didn't do something exactly when they should or could have.

Slowly, the blame faded. The anger receded. The black hole moved a little further away, or we moved a little further from it. By the middle of 2005, life seemed to revolve around two forces.

Our faith (and how we live it) changed. That's what I see clearest about 2005, even though I don't yet understand how it happened. Somehow, a new emphasis on 'doing good' (and I mean that in a way that makes it grammatically correct!) has been added. Helping, comforting, feeding, exhorting, teaching, providing... all these things seem to matter more now than they did two years ago.

This isn't the first time I've tried to explain the changes in our lives -- not even close -- and I'm sure it won't be the last. Yet, I hope you don't understand it, and I hope you never do, even though I'll keep talking about it.

There was more to say, but my boiler is running out of steam. Let's wrap this up...

So what of 2006, this promising new year? I'll finish with some personal resolutions. I resolve...

  • to help you smile, and to smile back.
  • to focus a little more on doing Good, even when it's hard. "More do, less be." Yes, I recognize the irony.
  • to spend more effort on what's important, and truly put the urgent distractions in their proper place.

That's our life (some of Corinne's, a lot of mine, and a whole lot of 'little us'), looking fore and aft on the first day of 2006.

I hope we all have a Happy New Year!

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