“2 year service plan?” The gentleman at Walmart asked disinterestedly. I quickly declined out of habit. As I waited credit card in hand on my one other item to be scanned, I chuckled to myself.
Every year on my birthday I purchase a new watch. I started the tradition a few years ago, and it is something I look forward to doing. I started thinking about my approaching birthday months ago, already trying to decide what I wanted to write about. A part of the tradition is putting something in words that I can use to reflect on and remember the past year by. I reread each previous post as I approach a new year of life.
This year has been hard. I have had to acknowledge that I will soon need glasses to allow me to continue to take in-focus photos. My hearing isn’t what it used to be, and my physical endurance is fading as well. I have felt a loss of stamina, which is sorely needed as I finish my 8th 60+ hour work week and start a 9th.
I am still not ready to be married, and I dissapoint those who are anxiously hoping for that day. My social life has changed dramatically since I left the youth center last summer. I find myself in a cycle of sleep, eat, work, sleep that does not seem to have an end. I regularly have to ask someone what day it is. I often find that I just don’t care about what is happening around me.
In November my mother passed away.
It has been a hard year.
I am ready to put this watch away, but it will be a long time before I can forget the year it stood guard over.
I will always remember being in the back of a speeding truck, my watch laying beside the seizing body of a young boy on his way to a Haitian hospital. I’ll remember the quick glances at my watch while I stood in the light of the swiftly rising Haitian sun when my two weeks there was done, hoping someone would come out to see me off, but glad of the escape from a goodbye I didn’t want to say when the truck snuck away with me aboard.
I’ll remember handing my watch to Karalee as she checked the weak pulse of a little Nicaraguan girls frail and failing body. I’ll remember my surprise at being roused from my Nicaraguan bunk at such a late hour by a dear sister who came to say goodbye and thank me for my presence.
I won’t forget the unfeeling but honest hands of the watch telling me I was going to be late to the cemetary.
There are so many seconds of this year that it is hard to imagine will ever be forgotten. In a way, I hope that I never do. It would change who I am now to forget these things.
Many of the events of the past year remind me that I may not have many more. There is no such thing as a 2 year service plan for a life. The only time you can depend on is the time that has already passed. I am so glad to have been given this past year, and I am hopeful that more time will be granted to me.
I have so much that I need to say.
It is in this past year that I finally feel as if I have found my voice, and while there is still breath in these lungs, I intend to use it.