Sunday, January 02, 2011

A little reflection

Today my pastor said something in his sermon that got me thinking. He said he always thinks back to what happened last year that changed him forever...and thinks ahead, wondering what will change him in 2011. It got me thinking...what in 2010 changed me forever? I haven't really thought about the end of the year, the beginning of the next, until today. I've been so busy since Christmas. But I believe reflecting on the year past is important to looking toward the future. There are four things that I can think of that, I believe, either changed me, or showed me who I am.

The first was the Haiti earthquake. No, I wasn't directly affected by it, but it did have an effect on me. I work in news, and when something big happens in this world, I can't get away from it, since I work in it everyday. I remember when Katrina happened. I cried for days at the visions of the devastation, the people hurting, the people who died. When I left work, I would not turn on the TV, because I wanted to rest from those images. This time was no different. I ached for the Haitians. I wanted to help them--do anything. I wanted to rescue some of the children left orphaned by the devastation. It reminded me that I am a compassionate person. That I am capable of feeling pain and love for those I've never met. This made a difference in me because it showed me a side to myself that I think I may have forgotten. You don't have to know someone personally to love them. News has made me hard when it comes to feeling, but I still hurt for these Haitians...and when Cholera broke out there, and then a hurricane passed over these people living in tents, I cried all over again...scared for these people who've lost so much.

The other events in my life that made big impacts are personal.

In June, I made a monumental decision. I decided to stay in Chattanooga. I decided, at least for the time being, to make Chattanooga my home. This came about the time I was contacted by a news station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, wanting me to come work for them. The job more than intrigued me. Deep inside, I wanted to go. I love adventure, and the thought of moving to an area of the country in which I've never lived fascinated me. But I started to think about it, and pray about it. I have such great friends here, a great church, and I live in a wonderful city, plus, I like the people I work with. So I decided not to go to Albuquerque, and I decided to renew my contract here in the Scenic City. This was a decision that I believe marked a huge change in my life. I no longer feel the need to "run". Maybe that's not what I was doing. I don't know. For some reason, after my contract has ended in times past, I always decided to leave. It was always a chance for a fresh start. Because I moved so much, I have met many wonderful people...and I love that I am able to keep in touch with many of them. But there's just something about saying my home is in_________. For the first time, when someone asks me where I am from, I don't say "Alabama" (where I grew up). I say I'm from Tennessee.

You know, death is something that changes people. Two very different people, who have played roles in my life, went to their Heavenly reward this year.

My grandmother, Ruth Moore, has been a very big part of my life since the day I was born. We got really close when I was in college. I lived with her for three years. After I left, we would have long conversations on the phone, and we always looked forward to the times we had to visit with each other. We shared books, we shared secrets, we shared our lives with each other. We were like best friends. But this year, she got sick again. Her Ovarian cancer came back, and most of this year my family and I watched her get sicker and sicker, until her body just couldn't handle anymore. The day she passed away, I cried so hard and so much that I literally got sick. But since then, I haven't cried much. Just a few tears here and there. I think I'm just so happy that she doesn't hurt anymore. The hope that we have in Christ is that this life isn't it. There is a wonderful something waiting on the other side. And because of that, I believe she lived her life and now, she's running and jumping and smiling in Heaven. I cherish every moment I got to spend with her.

The other death came just days ago.

A former co-worker of mine had liver cancer that ravaged her body. Susie was just 34 when she went "home". I hadn't seen Susie in five years...since I worked in Huntsville, Alabama. She and I had gotten back in touch, via Facebook, several months before she got sick. Even thought we hadn't been close friends, this really affected me. I think it's because I'm 32...Susie was just a little bit older than me. So young. I think it just really reminded me how short life is, and the importance of living every moment to the fullest. I went to her funeral--her life celebration. It was amazing the people who loved Susie--The people whose lives she touched! Susie was the type of person that made the room sunshine when she walked in. I remember working in the newsroom with her. Everyone could have a negative attitude, but I never heard negativity come out of her mouth. I think we all need to strive to be like Susie. Click here to see more about Susie.

I believe your experiences shape you into who you are. I've been told by some that I'm a much different, better person today, than I was just 10 years ago, and I just hope that I continue to change to be the person I need to be. So, here's looking to 2011. I haven't made any New Year's resolutions, other than I want to get healthy, physically and emotionally. I believe I am well on my way.

In 2011, two friends that are my age got married for the first time, giving me hope that there's still someone out there for me. I moved to a new apartment, I made new friends, I reconnected with old friends, I went on one of the best vacations of all time--a cruise to the Bahamas with a very special friend. And I am much more at peace today than I was a year ago with who I am and where I find myself in life. That's a good thing.

Thanks for sharing life with me, fellow bloggers, and followers of this blog. I hope 2011 is full of blessings for all of you.

1 comment:

Odie Langley said...

Well Nicole the biggest influence for me in 2010 was the blog world. I have met so many people that gave me a reason to be a better person. People that are hurting for whatever reason that I could show compassion for & offer prayers. I am so grateful for my new blog family.