Feliz Año Nuevos. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve communicated, especially since my blog entered a dormant phase after I left Mexico in March 2011. The past year has been a time of endings. My mom--the amazing, valiant Carmen--died at 92. Some forever friendships and family connections dissolved. A job offer required me to trade my beloved southwest vistas for the hazy, conservative Midwest—a place I thought I’d never return after moving to Colorado in 1986. It’s tempting to focus only on the losses. But as I said to a colleague who was recently forced out of a job he’d held for a long time, but had outgrown-- the new thing can’t begin until the old thing comes to an end.
There’s no getting around the grieving process. But with my new job at Joyce Meyer Ministries, I’ve been challenged to change my natural tendency to view life through a lens of melancholy (hmm…wouldn’t that be a lovely name for a girl? Melancholia Rand…) to something a bit more optimistic. More than once the Universe (i.e., God) has spoken to me: it’s time to shake the dust off your feet and look forward for a change. Imagine new possibilities: New friends. New paradigms. Even new family. Be grateful for what you have, not what’s still missing.
I have a job as a writer (with benefits!) at a time when traditional editorial jobs are going the way of the golden toad and the dodo bird. And after nearly four years with no permanent address, I’m finally settled in a charming apartment in a lovely old St. Louis neighborhood across from a big park where Bo and Rocky can roam off the leash. I have enough income to indulge my passion for thrift stores, and take the occasional trip to New Mexico to see my buddies. Oh, and here’s my nyaa-nyaa for those trapped in gloomier climes: I just came back from 10 days in Puerto Vallarta where I stayed with my friend Gloria at her historic posada, Los Cuatro Vientos. After nearly two years away, it was a sentimental journey filled with happy reunions and swims in the healing ocean.
My job entails writing curriculum for Joyce Meyer’s “action plans,” as well as magazine features, marketing copy and other projects. This year I’ve written journaling workbooks based on her books and teachings, including Power Thoughts, Fruit of the Spirit and Battlefield of the Mind. Working at a place where most of my colleagues are half my age, I’ve been forced to stay current with new technologies—although my favorite game on my Kindle is grandmotherly Mahjongg, not “Angry Birds.”
What have I learned in the past year? That what you want is not necessarily what you need. That God provides—usually at the 11th hour. That our “families” are not always related to us by blood. That it’s healthiest to pursue relationships with people who believe the best about one another. That sometimes you have to make peace with things being unresolved. And that it takes a lot less emotional energy to forgive someone than to hold a grudge.
I’ve discovered that for at least this present season, I need routine and stability—not another “adventure.” I’m particularly grateful that my sister Dodi and I have grown closer after being virtual strangers for decades. We talk regularly on the phone—getting to know one another and working through our respective issues with candor, respect and trust.
It’s been a year of solitude (what my friend Kathy Parham calls “sacred loneliness”), and many times I’ve felt like a fish out of water in the city where I was born and spent the first 10 years of my life. I wouldn’t have chosen St. Louis as a place to live. But here is where the door opened. I’m trusting God that there’s a lesson I’m supposed to learn from this. More will be revealed.
Blessings to you. May all your life transitions be smooth ones…life is so much easier when you just go with it. Have a great 2013.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)