Note to lovers: It gets better

Mind whirling with multiple thoughts competing for attention. 2016 ends today, a year of change: Betsy’s two eye surgeries, my two total hip replacements, our longtime, beloved pastors announcing their 2017 retirements, the passing of loved ones, the illnesses of others. And let us not overlook the crowning of a new president, who will take office  despite a 2.8 million-vote deficit. We have a fertile field upon which to draw for today’s blog. But we will resist the temptation. Instead, we will reflect mainly on life at home on the final day of this year.

With calm efficiency and in record time this morning, Betsy and I removed all of the physical traces of Christmastide that have decorated our humble home these past few weeks. We took down the window candles that greeted motorists and pedestrians along our street, gathered the tiny figures in the manger scene atop the piano, unhooked the front door wreath, removed ornaments and tucked the tabletop tree back in its carton, and put away all of the other things that lifted our spirits and reminded us of the reason for the season. The cat’s tower is back in its familiar location, overlooking the deck and the occasional scampering squirrel.

The process always puts me in a funk for an hour or so. I hate to see this cheerful stuff disappear, but the mood lightens as the day wears on and we begin to look ahead to a new year, one that promises to stimulate us in ways we can’t yet predict.

We plan to watch our Tar Heels play basketball this afternoon, and this evening will enjoy a quiet dinner at a local restaurant, just the two of us reflecting on the year ending and the one ahead, a tradition we’ve enjoyed for years. I don’t recall a single time we’ve missed doing this in our 54 years together.

We thank you for reading and invite you to continue checking in. I’ll keep on writing as often as I can. Along with our sincere good wishes for you and those you love in the year ahead, we add this observation for those of you who are in a loving relationship. It gets better as you grow older together. That’s a promise.

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