Friday, December 31, 2004

The Sauterne Dies Tonight

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves"- William E. Vaughan

I saw that quote while reading my blog friend Chuck's newspaper column the other day and figured it sort of fit my thoughts on 2004, and it was also easy to steal....Thank you God for cut and paste.

Amy and I are not big on New Year's Eve celebrations. When I was out of control with alcohol and substance abuse, before Amy knew me, I scoffed at the revelers as "amateurs." Now I think we're both simply more comfortable being where it's quiet and safe on New Year's Eve...home.

I've also never really been big on using January 1 as the date to start a diet, or discipline. I think the only one that I really tried and stuck with for any length of time was to read the Bible over the course of a year... I bogged down in Jeremiah around was 2001; Jeremiah wasn't the only thing I found hard to fathom that year.

This year though is different. Amy and I are looking forward to 2004 being behind much so, we're killing a fancy bottle of wine.

We're not big drinkers (I was forced into mandatory retirement from the alcohol pros for some ten years) but we do now allow ourselves a glass or two of wine. This year Amy hasn't been able to drink - heck for most of the year she couldn't eat - and her taste for wine has not returned still, but I think she'll savor one glass of this wine tonight.

The wine was given to us by a friend with the stipulation that it be saved for a very special time.

It's only a 350 ml bottle - that means it's about a half a bottle - but it's still a very expensive wine and we've never had an event occur which we believed merited its uncorking. It's sat on top of our entertainment center in the living room for a couple of years at least, as a decoration.

Today I put it in the fridge - it's a wine which must be served ice cold - and it's about to succumb to our revelry.

We are saying good bye and good riddance to has been a hard year. I have seen people I loved and cared for deeply die, people I have worshipped the Lord with have gone to join Him, others have wandered away in their spiritual journies. Amy has been through so much medically it would take all night to recap. We have struggled financially, and my brother used politics as a way of escaping an honest relationship with us. I have cried alone more this year than at any time in my life.

Yet I have also prayed more, my relationship with Amy has grown stronger than I ever thought possible, I have laughed in the face of demons that once would have dragged me into dark places where I would have allowed them to torture me without mercy. I have come to understand the imperative of turning my burdens over to God in a new and promising way. Admittedly the lessons have often been painful, but I have learned about true faith and I know with certainty that I have been guided by the Holy Spirit.

2005 is a year which we expect will be better...much better. Our young friend Erin, having endured a year in rural China, has accepted our offer to live in our home, only a marginal step up sanitation-wise from her previous digs, while she finds her way in life. My company this year will launch a true radio news network in association with FOX and should I choose to do so I may play a very active role in that challenge.

Most importantly though, Amy's health is the best it's been all year and she's getting better every day.

So 2004 is bitter sweet and we have declared New Year's Eve a special night. The wine that dies tonight is a true Sauterne, a very sweet dessert wine. 2004 was bittersweet. 2005 is full of hope.

God is steadfast.

Amy just hollered up the stairs, "Five minutes!" I promised I would be finished writing by 7:30.

I'm done now...done with 2004 too.

May God Bless you.

God bless 2005!