Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year in Review

It's the last day of 2011. Tomorrow will be a whole new year. I have decided to take a trip through this year and look at the changes that have come about. Sometimes, it's important to remember that stuff, you know?

In January, I was going through the turmoil of ending my relationship with my ex-love Tony, extricating myself from his house, his life (and his wife's life). It was not pleasant, and I spent much of the month being overwhelmed, emotionally bereft, and generally broken. I really think the best post to explain it all was the one I wrote on trust. Trust was a large factor in my life, broken trust especially. It's something I still struggle with, partially because I've had trust broken so many times over my life in big ways, and partially as the blow-out from the break-up we went through. Poly "divorce" (for lack of a better word) is a highly unpleasant thing at the best of times. This one was not at the best of times.

February was a month that I didn't blog here much. I suspect I was just too emotionally raw to really do much, but I was also in the home stretch at seminary. Most of the blog posts were "writing seeds" from the book we were working through. I touched on so many subjects, all of them deep and important, but none to do with how I was truly doing, if that makes any sense.

Lent was my focus through much of March, and I wrote a lot about my impressions of it. I especially like this post because it touches on my beliefs as a "hybrid" of Greek and Christian beliefs. There's also a labyrinth poem that I am somewhat proud of for its meter and rhyme. I find myself now looking ahead to Lent in the New Year, and what sort of revelations it will bring to me...

Spring started coming in April, and I spent more time out of doors. I went for a walk at a friend's brand new land, and ended up breaking my right ankle. Ouch. That's the first bone I've ever broken, and it was not something I enjoyed at all. I felt very trapped in the house in Hinsdale, unable to leave my room, dependent on people who were not only no longer lovers or family, but who were rapidly choosing to become enemies. April was the month that I broke all of my own rules, and did something so horrible that it almost destroyed me, my family, everything I've worked for through the years. I'm still recovering from it today, which is a part of that whole trust issue I mentioned before. It's hard... it's frightening! I haven't given up, though, and I persevered through all the nastiness and pain and anguish, and I'm not in April anymore.

May was about building foundations again. It was close to graduation and ordination time, and also approaching the time when we would be leaving the house that was now owned by Tony and wife, and going to a new place. We didn't know yet that our dream house would fall through, though we had (by this month) seen the new house which was destined to be our own. We had been razed to the ground, and now it was time to lay that new foundation. The big rocks (family, relationship) had to be firmly laid at the bottom, so that nothing else could topple whatever we built. I know at the time I didn't feel as if I was doing a very good job, but I can look back now with a bit of mercy on myself and see that I was doing the best I could.

I can explain June in two words: confirmation, and ordination. The whole month seemed to be eaten up by those two ceremonies. Confirmation was fairly quiet, but very heartfelt. Ordination was a huge production number, and I loved every moment of it despite shaking in my boots throughout. I went on retreat, took my first Communion as a confirmed Christian, re-dedicated myself to my Greek gods, and accepted the anointing of myself as an Interfaith Minister.

July had me living alone in the parsonage of our church. It was a peaceful time, although I was mourning not having a garden. I tried to grow tomatoes in pots, but it just didn't work out. I had lush leaves, but almost no fruit at all. Still, I tried. It was a way of laying in my dreams (and prayers) for this winter, I suppose. I still ache that I can't open a jar of our own tomatoes in January, when I want them most, but at least I have a few dilly tomatoes and one package of frozen home-grown beans left. I plan on using them around my birthday, I think.

I spent most of August in a time of introspection. I thought about our children, about our relationships, about our life. I thought about me, and how I'd forgotten to pray for myself for a very long time. A friend got badly hurt, and some things happened that got me very emotionally hurt. It was also the time that I started to realize that I could exist outside of my relationship. I'm still not sure I like that, to be honest. I realize it's a healthy realization, and I'm not trying to bury it or anything. There's a certain scariness to it, though; the idea that even if Gray or sis were to leave, even if the kids were suddenly no longer in my life, I could continue on. It might hurt, it might ache, it might burn like the fires of Hel, but I would go on, and I would live my life. It's not a comforting thought, really, because of the pain it involves. I don't fear death; Hecate cured me of that some years ago. I do fear pain, though... and most of my life has been spent running from one shelter to another, avoiding pain. For the first time in my life, at 40 years of age, I feel as if I can walk through pain and still be standing. I suppose that must mean I'm grown up now?

September was a month of food for me. I was at the parsonage, now joined by Gray and sis and kids. I was cooking a lot more, and I even tried some fun things like fudge. I made one of my favorite Hungarian recipes, chicken paprikash, and shared the recipe with the blogosphere. I dealt with a lot of emotional issues, some of which are still ongoing, but I dealt with a grace I didn't know I had.

We moved into our new home in October, and I learned that the land here is quite numinous. We spent hours lugging boxes, cleaning, scouring carpets, and settling in. We got children registered and going to their new school. It was a time of new beginnings, which might seem odd for October, but suited me just fine. I celebrated a number of holy days, some Jewish and some Christian, most Hellenic, and enjoyed the fact that the new house and land provided me with peace to do such things.

In November, I finally got my altars set up. For me, this was a way of saying, "This is HOME." I'd never gone so long without altars (the ones in the parsonage were fairly rudimentary, but at least they were present). It was with a sense of true relief that I pulled out all my sacred items and placed them reverently in their places. Since then I've moved a few things around, but the basic lay-out has continued to stay the same. I love it! My room is truly wonderful, a place of sanctuary for me. I look forward to spring, and the time when I can throw open both windows and let the clear, cleansing breeze blow through.

This month, December, I've found myself strangely removed from everything. I didn't get into my usual funk around Yule and Christmas. I had emotional moments, yes, but nothing like the past 9 years. I talked to my daughter, enjoyed listening to her open her gifts, had a little party with friends, and baked cookies successfully for the first time, really. It's been a good month, and a quiet one. Most of the boxes have been sorted through. Most of our things have been found (or replaced if lost). There's wood in the house, and the fireplace has been cranking out most of the house's heat for the past month.

The angst and anger of January has faded. I can't say that I've completely recovered from the blow of my relationship ending and the resulting "divorce" situation, but I have come to terms with it and moved on. I try not to think about the bad times, even when that means doing things like deleting a few pictures off my hard drive. I don't even spend much time thinking on the good times, to be honest, other than to take the lessons I learned (how to grow food in a garden, how to raise and butcher chickens, etc.) and apply them to the new life we've started here. Though we intended to stay close to where we were previously, fate has moved us an hour away, and that seems to have been a wonderful thing. Life is good. Life is good. Life is good.
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