I woke up this morning with a song in my head. Well, not a whole song, just a couple of lines from "A Long December" by the Counting Crows:
It's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
2010, as a whole, wasn't terrible, but December seemed especially long and intense. It probably didn't help that our darkest days coincided with those offering the fewest hours of daylight. We have persevered thus far, but we haven't done it alone.
There have been times when Gus and I have grumbled about small town life - how cool would it be to live in a bustling city? Imagine, we could live in a quirky apartment within walking distance of eclectic bookstores, natural history museums, Japanese restaurants! Think about how the kids' lives would be enriched by the interplay of cultures, the opportunities, the experiences!
Yet, this small town has embraced and carried us in a way that no big city would ever be able to do. We are grateful and humbled by the appearance of Maggie's name on prayer lists all over town, by the countless carolers who shivered in our front yard, by the cards and video that arrived from the elementary school (and we homeschool!), by a visit from Santa and his elves, by the hot and delicious meals that are waiting for us when we return home, exhausted, at the end of clinic days. Everyone wants to be updated on Maggie's progress; I've realized that I have to factor in an extra half hour to my Food Lion trips because I will undoubtedly have at least three wonderfully lengthy conversations. We are so overwhelmed by this small town's big love.
This is not to say that we think any less of all of the love that is coming at us from outside our town's limits. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, colleagues, teachers, friends from grade school, friends from college, family friends, friends of friends - our mailboxes (both snail and electronic) are overflowing with prayers, support, encouragement, and offers of help.
Okay, so I'm going to get a little Dorothy Gale here but, "if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard". I can't think of a more enriching experience for our children than that of seeing an entire community rally around one small person. Would they otherwise have had an opportunity to see such an outpouring of generosity and compassion? We are truly blessed. In a book that I'm reading, one character says something to the effect of: my heart is so full that my eyes are overflowing. Wow. Totally. Spot on.
And, thanks to Santa, anytime we want Japanese food, we can just ask our in-house sushi chef!
I think this year will be better than the last.