Present in the New Year

Once again I find myself sorting through thoughts. Words and images move around in my  head and I try to make some sense out of them.  I try to slow down and learn from them. I try to listen.

As is our tradition, we spend a night near Christmas on a river. There is a wonderful inn that is situated on the Missouri near my parent’s home. This boat holds many memorable moments for me and my family.  We’ve held many celebrations on this vessel.  We’ve laughed a great deal, eaten a vast amount, grown in size and number between each visit and we’ve enjoyed sweet rest at this locale.

Waking the morning after Christmas and stepping out onto the deck I enjoyed the peaceful moment.  In the scope of time, it was just a breath. The air was cool. It was crisp. The sound of the river was purposeful, yet soothing. I think it was a significant moment.  I think it will be one that I will refer to in future spaces of time. IMG_5527

I watched as the water continued, knowing I would not see it’s final destination. I knew I would not see the obstacles that were ahead.  I thought of the pondering of men who have noted that one can never step in the same river twice as a river is always changing. I quickly thought how over time a river changes it’s course, if need be.


When met with obstacles, the water works to continue to it’s destination.

A year ago I could not have imagined what 2015 would hold.  I had no sense of the obstacles we would face. I had been on this river looking out in a similar direction, celebrating a wonderful family event, without any inkling.

I’m thankful I was unaware of what was ahead. 

New Year’s celebrations have never been especially meaningful for me. I have no set traditions  and don’t anticipate the turning of the calendar with any great fanfare. I have some sweet memories of gathering with friends and families during this time of year. Those thoughts are what make the event sweet for me. 1983 was introduced in  prime fashion attending a concert at the Staats Oper  in Vienna listening to the Philharmonic play Beethoven’s Ninth. Numerous years were ushered in with my family in the Rockies. That will happen again some day!.

With that being said, I have never longed to turn the calendar page more than this year.  I am not alone with this sentiment. I have heard more than one family member state they were eager for 2016 to arrive.  Each time I say it, or hear it, I am acutely aware that we don’t know what the new year will hold.  We don’t know what this day will hold.

I’ll admit that I long for a boring year in terms of medical issues.  We are all longing for that. 

As I move forward and continue to navigate around obstacles, I hope I can return to the sound of the river. I hope I can remember that a river flows strongest near it’s source.  I hope that the meanderings of my river will be adventures that help me see the world through gentle eyes.  Some adventures may be trips down the aisle at the grocery store and some may be more grandiose.

I went to the clinic yesterday to do routine blood work and have my port accessed. At a stoplight I snapped a selfie. It seemed normal to document these trips just a few weeks ago. At the stop I thought how thankful I was that this would be a quick visit. I was not facing a long day of infusion. I was not heading into a really tough week.  The smile came quickly.


Walking through the infusion room before and after my appointment, I was flooded with emotions.  Many faces came to mind of those who sat with me through countless hours and countless bags of meds and fluids. I tried to look at each person in that room in hopes of recalling their faces throughout this week and into the new year. They are all still battling. They are not alone as I will be thinking of them.

I will be returning to the clinic many more times in the future for labs, port flushing, scans and appointments. I’m not sure what to expect emotionally with each visit. The processing continues. I am thankful for that.I don’t want to lose sight of the feelings that accompany this battle.

Accepting that I do not know what 2016 will hold, with a certainty like never  before, I say “Happy New Year” in a different way. That statement does not mean I anticipate any bad news. My outlook physically continues to hold positive hopes. But, I am more aware that the “happy” in the new year has little to do with what is anticipated. The happy is not dependent on whether the river holds obstacles. Obstacles are a sure thing.

I’m refraining from reciting a list of things I’m thankful for…

I will set my course for today. As 2016 is close at hand, I will try to set the course for each day as it comes and work to navigate around any obstacle. I will strive to listen and observe as I continue on the path of my river. I want to hear the sounds of the water. It is a source of life. It’s a good sound to hone in on for life is precious.

With a new sense of appreciation for the oft used phrase,


The water you touch in a river is the last of that which has passed, and the first of that which is coming. Thus it is with time present.

~Leonardo Da Vinci

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