Here’s to 2010 and remembering to live and to love


Penny Stine is a staff writer for Real Estate Weekly. When she’s not writing about other people’s houses, she enjoys sharing pieces of her life with readers.

She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

This year has taught me not to make resolutions about weight loss, spare time or self-improvement, not that I was ever a big fan of any kind of New Year’s resolution. In the past, I’ve always been too distracted by Christmas to resolve anything beyond remembering to buy more scotch tape.

But this year, I’ve learned that sometimes life chews you up and spits you out, leaving you dumbstruck, bewildered and wondering why you ever thought you could resolve to control anything beyond breathing in and breathing out.

As many readers know, our oldest son died last April, leaving my family with a big hole in our hearts and our identity. I could spend countless weeks discussing why or trying to understand how it could have happened, and I would be no closer to the truth than we were when he died.

The simple truth is that he’s gone and it hurts.

Like most families, our Christmas season is full of traditions we share with millions of people, like going to church on Christmas Eve and opening gifts on Christmas morning. It’s also full of traditions that belong to us, like putting crazy boxer shorts and Legos in the boys’ stockings, no matter how old they are. Every tradition reminded me of past holiday seasons and every memory was both painful and sweet.

The more complicated truth is that life goes on, and those of us who are left have to go on, too. A small part of me doesn’t want to; I want to dig in my heels, and kick and scream that this is not the future I envisioned when I became a parent. This game of life is not turning out the way I thought it ought to, and sometimes, I want to take my marbles and go home.

But that’s not really an option, and as 2009 draws to a close, I know that I’m not the only one who has suffered loss this year. I’m not the only one whose life has been shattered by events I could not control. Like so many other people, this year has shown me how little control I actually have over events, people and circumstances that affect my life.

I can’t control my husband, my kids or my coworkers, although I’m learning that every once in a while, I ought to exercise the option to control myself. I can bite my tongue when I want say something snarky or complain. I can decide to love my family even when they drive me crazy.

I can’t control the real estate market, the job market, the stock market or the balance in my 401K, but I can be glad that I have food on the table, a roof over my head and extra to share.

I can’t always sleep at night and I can’t stop the sadness that washes over me in odd moments when I’m not expecting it, but I can trust that God is still in control. He has not been my god-in-a-bottle, giving me the perfect life that I wanted simply because I asked for it as one of my three wishes, but that doesn’t mean that He is not the holy one who created the universe by His word alone.

Christmas reminded us that God came to us when we needed him most. Jesus was not immune from suffering, and promised that He will be with those who choose to be with him.

Although 2009 was devastating for my family, it also had moments of joy, happiness and peace. Kind of like life, which can be full of tragedy, comedy, fear and love.

I don’t know what 2010 holds in store and I’ll refrain from making any predictions or resolutions, other than to borrow the words from a song by a group called Superchick.

Here’s to 2010, and may we all choose to live, to love, to forgive and never give up.


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