Tuesday, January 1, 2013

That thou canst never once reflect

Last night at around 11:30 pm I got a text from Andrew. Come on up to 9-- in 15 minutes or so.  I smiled and picked up my pager. It was the last night of 2012 and also the last time my husband and I will work simultaneous shifts at the hospital. Normally when I'm working overnight I head to the stiff cot in the chaplain sleep room by 9:30 or 10pm if the pager has been quiet.  It's anyone's guess how many times I'll be woken up throughout the night to answer pages or go to codes, so it's a good idea to start trying to sleep early. Some nights it doesn't go off at all.  I think the record for me is five pages between bedtime and end of shift at 8am.

First pic of 2013
But last night was special, and so I ended up ringing in the new year in an empty ninth floor hospital room, standing on tiptoe to see the peekaboo view of the Space Needle and its fireworks. Andrew was next to me and we stood with each other and the many residents, nurses, and medical personnel crowded into the room. Somebody passed around sparkling cider and another person found a youtube version of Auld Lang Syne to play from their phone. We all tried to be both jubilant and quiet, because new year or not it was midnight in an ICU and there are quiet hours and whatnot, you know.

I usually write a goodbye letter to the  year that has just passed. It's one of my favorite rituals. This year I'm finding it hard to do. Maybe it's that just in the past four months 2012 kicked my butt hard enough that I have no idea what to say about it. Or maybe I need to find a different way to mark the passage from one year to the next.  I have a hunch that perhaps in a week or two - or maybe a month or two - I'll have a much better perspective from which to memorialize this past calendar year.

For now let me simply say this: 2012 didn't have one big moment that changed everything forever but the experiences I have had this past year will reverberate throughout my life, for the rest of my life, in powerful and permanent ways. I have learned so much about my family, my faith, and myself.  A lot of that learning is ongoing, and it still smarts a little.

They say that whatever you are doing at midnight on New Year's Eve sets the tone for your whole new year. If that's true it's okay with me. There was something fitting about beginning my 2013 in a hospital, way up high, holding hands and looking out to fireworks in the sky.