In two more days, the end of the first decade of this century will draw to a close. Not that I am one to live in the past, but I think it might be worth the time to reflect on where I was 10 years ago, and where I am today.
On New Year’s Eve 1999 going into 2000….The big Y2K scare had everyone on edge, and I worked in the computer room in the IT dept. of a mid-size company in St. Louis. And I was on call. We had been working for the entire previous year to insure that everything worked as planned, but I needed to dial in after midnight to insure that the major servers flipped their dates over right. With the exception of one server, they all did, and I rebooted that one and everything was fine. A non-event.
I was living in a studio apartment in downtown St. Louis across from the Savvis Center. First Night was in the streets by the war memorial at that time, so I walked down there to experience the culture of the area. Ate alligator on a stick:) A new experience for me. Then I walked back to my apartment to await the chores I needed to do after midnight.
During the next several years, I worked a lot, and I partied a lot. Met some nice men. Met some not so nice men. Yet through all of this, I would not have called myself happy. Angry, yes. Happy, no. I knew that some changes had to be made, so I started journaling, and praying. I tried attending church, but that seemed somehow unfulfilling to me. I didn’t stop praying though. I read. Self help books. Spiritual books. Books on Buddhism. You name it, I read it, and the one sure thing I came away with was that if there were going to be changes, only I could make them.
As the years passed, I grew tired of living in the city and wanted to live in the country, and I couldn’t figure out how to make that happen, so I prayed about that. I also prayed for patience, and for an opportunity to serve. God answered those prayers, when he presented me with the opportunity to move in with an elderly woman with dementia who could no longer live by herself. After much prayer and consideration, I decided to take this “gift” that God had given me. So, I resigned from my job and moved two and a half hours further from my children, to this small town in southern Illinois.
This truly has been a gift. The best thing that ever happened to me. I had the opportunity to live with this woman and accompany her through part of her journey into dementia. I took her to church, and I took care of her and loved her, and she loved me back. I learned many lessons on how to grow old and how to just be a graceful woman. And I also learned patience. (Remember I had prayed for that?!) After two years, her health deteriorated so, that the decision was made to put her under nursing care, so her family moved her into a facility close to her oldest son. In return for my service to her, they gifted me with her house.
A couple of months after she left, I interviewed for and got a job as an administrative assistant in a church. Another wonderful gift from God! My boss, the preacherman (grin) is awesome to work with and maybe the most inspiring speaker I have ever heard the word of God come from.
The area that I live in is one of the most beautiful areas on earth. (Ok maybe I am a little prejudiced about that, but I have never lived in a place so full of peace!) Close to the Shawnee National Forest, trees grow tall and old here and vibrate with life even in the midst of winter. Orchards and vineyards dot the countryside producing some of the best fruit and wine I have ever consumed.
But the best gift of all…is that I know God arranged all of this FOR ME. And I am thankful. I have made my peace with the things that used to anger me. And miracle of miracles….I am happy.
What a great decade this has been!