2017 has been the second worst year of my life. I am just beginning to dig my way out of the destruction and to rebuild. I am trying to fit the events into some sort of framework with the rest of my life, to see the bigger picture. I am seeking understanding.
Amidst all the darkness of the year, there lives a little girl who is filled with joy, love, and happiness; she gives it away freely. She is Breezy; she is my light. (For those of you who are new readers to Tower of Twins, Breezy is my granddaughter.)
In the summertime, Breezy had a birthday. It was a rite of passage for her. She still says, “I am seven!” to anyone who will listen. When it came time to go back to school, she declared, “No characters. NO characters! I am not going to second grade looking silly.” She chose an intricate pattern of silver and cobalt for her book bag and lunchbox, and marched into class looking like a fresh-faced university co-ed, except for the fact that her book bag still hits her behind the legs.
Papa and I bought her a new bike for her birthday. She had outgrown the one we’d bought her when she was four, but had just started riding it in the springtime without the training wheels. It was time for a big bicycle. On June 6, we took her out to celebrate.
We went out to eat at her favorite place, Steak ‘n Shake, and to shop for the bike. She chose one at Wal-Mart. It was a beauty. It did not have the basket she dreamed of, but bikes don’t come with baskets anymore. I promised to order one from the Internet and she would have it in a few days.
She wanted it so her cat Pumpkin could ride around the neighborhood with her. I did not have the heart to tell her that Pumpkin was not a trained circus animal and was not about to stay in a bicycle basket for more than a couple of seconds. She’d have to learn that tough lesson on her own.
When we got back to her house, her parents weren’t home yet. Papa sat in his truck in the driveway and I got out to help her ride the taller bike. She was having a little difficulty with stopping it; the distance between the seat to the road was just slightly longer than her legs. She kept falling. She was getting frustrated. I got out in the street, holding the bike and gave her some tips about how to stop without having to fall over.
She rode up the street, made a circle, and came back, making a perfect stop in front of the mailbox. She looked at me with a huge smile in her eyes and on her mouth. Her big raggedy teeth were completely exposed. I could feel my face smiling just as big. We locked eyes and smiles. No words were spoken. We held our gazes and smiles much longer than what would seem “normal.” Neither of us looked away for a very long time.
It seemed as though time stood still. My heart and soul, so damaged from the events of the year and so tender to any emotion, were in a hazy state of being. At that moment, I knew “this is all there is to life, and it is enough.” During the frozen time we stood locked in looks of love, I knew that none of the events of 2017 that haunted me so deeply counted for anything. All that mattered was that I was teaching a child to ride a bike. After I am gone, I knew, that in her memory of me, it was in this moment, and moments like these, where she would find her comfort.
The year changed for me after that amazing spiritual event. It did not get better. On some levels the worst was yet to come. Yet, the meaning of my life and its purpose had been revealed to me, and I was able to deal with what I faced with a new resolve.
I read this year in a devotional book Jesus Calling, given to me by a dear colleague who knew my struggles, “My reasons for allowing these adversities may be shrouded in mystery, but My continual presence with you is an absolute promise.”
My wish for all of you is a very blessed Christmas and the happiest of New Year’s. May 2018 reveal to you the meaning of life and the purpose of your being.