The road ends, but the journey continues...

longest night, Reflections during

Winter Solstice: a day with the least amount of sunshine potential; the shortest day and longest night; a time of reversals.

To me, the Winter Solstice feels more like the ending of the past year with the dawning of the true ‘new year.’  An organic New Year’s Eve, so to speak. What better time to reflect on the past year, letting go and easing into the ‘new year’ as each day from this point in time gains length.
With these reflections comes the announcement that this will be my final posting for 2018 with an undetermined first post date for the upcoming year. That’s just my convoluted way of saying I’m taking a blogging break!
That said, let us continue.
In reviewing my Morning Pages* over this past year I realized it has been a full and satisfying 12 months. No family or close friends died or declared any horrific medical diagnosis, the selling of my folks’ house went smoothly and the settling of their estate is almost completed, we visited and celebrated with family members and friends throughout the year and throughout the country, and the scary emergencies we did encounter were accompanied by His ‘peace that passes all understanding’ as we walked through those life-paths.
It seems we landed in a junction of respite from several years of elder care, personal pain, disappointments, grief and such.
Fielding the good with the bad, several themes** emerged as well – often revealing forward movement on goals, desires, hopes and dreams; working through the ups & downs of life; grappling with deeper issues in living a purposeful life.
Why then this lingering sense of sadness?
Is it the darkness? The longer nights and shorter days? Grey black skies, claustrophobic fog?
Not really.
I relish this Winter Solstice evening – prolonged darkness, giving permission to hunker down, and delve into soul searching, validating this yearning to be still and listen to what the Lord through His creation and past events is speaking to me.
Then what is contributing to this heaviness, this disheartening sense of impotence in making a difference in life’s inequities?
Ah yes, of course. Events over this past year, worldwide and oh-too-to-close-to-home local happenings.

  • Parkland school shootings, Las Vegas, Nevada concert shootings, synagogue slaughter, humble town of Florence, SC massacre and on & on infinitum…
  • Manchester arena bombing anniversary representing terrorism in a free country with strict gun control.
  • Never ending hordes of everyday people fleeing their beloved homeland for a safe place to stay alive…Syrians, Central Americans, Africans…
  • Governments killing their own citizens in the name of advancing their own personal agenda.
  • Free world border ‘wars’ using displaced, desperate persons, families & children as fodder for unwinnable negotiations.
  • Increased homelessness in the midst of hardworking middle class professionals – and all the ramifications of undeserved shame while struggling to continue to survive in an ever increasing hostile American society.
  • Constant bombardment of Trumpian Temper Tantrums affecting everyday Americans (sorry, I don’t normally specify political opinions…please give me latitude during this Winter’s Solstice)

And yet, this is all not new…the poor have always been with us, the rich and powerful have always manipulated laws to benefit themselves, increasing their wealth and opportunities, to the detriment of everyday people, and, what of the ever presence of war – always with us.
1968 was a bad year – Vietnam War, numerous assassinations, student protests…Decades earlier, WWII, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, the Holocaust
The world’s suffering is so personal.
It hurts.
And yet, I am reminded:

“God wastes nothing – not even our darkness”

*from which I am taking an indeterminate break also, after 28+ years of faithful jottings!
**my music, hubby’s new business, finding home, strengthening relationships…


  1. Brigid Gallagher

    I am glad you had a good year Laura. Sometimes the sadness can appear out of nowhere, but sadly there is such a lot of turmoil on the planet. Let us hope for positive change.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks for the ‘follow’, Brigid.

  2. Ally Bean

    Last year was a difficult one for me, too. I felt such sadness about events in the world and about how people in my personal life were treating each other. I don’t keep Morning Pages anymore but I’m sure mine would have expressed confusion and despair. However, I agree with you that God wastes nothing, so I believe things will be getting better. We’ve all learned some lessons, haven’t we?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, indeed, Ally.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  3. Andy

    I’ve come a little late to your solstice post. Things are still a little dark, both in terms of the season and metaphorically, but it’s now a new year and I think we can find balance. Sometimes though it’s the negative things that are given prominence.
    A few hours before midnight there was another terror incident at Victoria Station, metres away from where the Arena bombing took place, with three stabbed before the attacker was subdued. Sometimes, with the year passing, it seems ‘same old, same old’ but there’s moments of beauty, too.
    I hope you’re enjoying your blogging break. I don’t break, but these days my posts seem shorter. I still like to ‘check in’ with people though.
    Wishing you a Happy New Year, and, as always appropriately, ‘Peace’.

    • laura bruno lilly

      And I’ve come a little late in the responding to your comment, Andy. Just got back from our coast to coast trek to see the Rose Parade in Pasadena (last year’s was much better, BTW, but still a treasure to experience) wherein our 2003 Camry turned over 400K miles!
      Anyway, yes, there is beauty in ashes always – however the process of becoming ‘ashes’ is very difficult. Sadly, many in our country are literally experiencing that in the aftermath of the Paradise, CA wildfires.
      All that to say, I found it interesting reading your post on travel (with references to the latest terror incident at Victoria Station – sigh) in relation to our own recent cross country trek!
      Yes, I’m enjoying my blogging break –
      Happy 2019, Manc bud.

  4. Marty

    Indeed, this was a really tough year throughout the world. Non-stop drama on steroids. And yet, as you put it so perfectly, there is still hope for all of us. Enjoy your blogging hiatus!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Marty. Happy Holidays to you.

  5. Heather

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year Laura. Enjoy your blogging break, and the donkeys and I will be looking forward to seeing you again in 2019. 🙂 xxx

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Heather! I hope you get to enjoy all the holidays have to offer – and don’t get too put out when Dizzy decides not to share her Christmas bounty with you!
      I’ll see you later…

  6. Mary

    May you have a peaceful time off from blogging! And best wishes for the new year, too.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Zippy!

  7. Deborah Brasket

    I too have been struggling with an under current of sadness this season. This post and your video is just what I needed to hear. A ray of light in this dark night. Have a beautiful Christmas, Laura. I’ll miss your posts and look forward to your return.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I am pleased that my ‘reflections’ were helpful in easing a tiny bit of that undercurrent of sadness for you, Deborah.
      May His peace encircle you with hope in the coming New Year…

  8. Roseanne

    Hi Laura! Another year almost in the books, and I find that I love the Winter Solstice the most of all. A wonderful nephew was born on that day, and he has always been a light in everyone’s world who knows him. Now he is a police officer, seeing the worst of situations yet still hoping to be able to change a young man’s life by leading him to a better path. When I look in the eyes of my great-nephew’s one-year-old eyes, I know that he and his kind ways will also light the world for everyone who knows him. In spite of this temporary situation in our political mess, I can only hold on to hope for a change in two years. One man can do a lot of damage in four years, but we are a strong nation with a lot of good citizens. We can recover; we have before. {{Hugs}} I hope you don’t take too long of a break from journaling. I suspect you will miss it, as will we. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Happy Happy Saturday to you as well. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Your family is a delight to hear about/see on your blog! And these tidbits add much to warm my soul.
      I wish for you fun times with family and plenty of ‘quilting’ opportunities in this coming year.

  9. Irene Olson

    So true – all that you say. Hatred, intolerance, war, bullying…all that horrible stuff has been with us from the beginning of time. Fortunately, there is a lot of good in the world as well. True, the good doesn’t always make the headlines but maybe we bloggers/writers can change that. Starting next year – just a few short days – I’m going to post a good news story every week. It’ll be very brief – it’ll basically be a reposting of good news I find in the world that needs to be shared – but I figure if I can help bring light to our existence, that’s what I’m gonna do. Blessings to you as you enjoy a time of much-deserved respite. Happy New Year to you!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Irene, in case you didn’t know, you already bring light to others – your insights, supporting others while navigating the often dark roads of Alzheimer’s…
      I look forward to reading your posts in the coming year!

  10. Andrea Stephenson

    I’m glad that your year personally was a good one Laura, despite the disheartening events in the world. Hope you have a fruitful and relaxing break.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Andrea. I hope you have many delightful wintry outdoor adventures in the coming weeks.

  11. Jill

    I wasn’t aware you’ve done morning pages for so long, Laura, that’s impressive. I try, though I’m not as deligent since I’m at the day job so early. Thank you for sharing the beautiful video. Tuning out the noise and focusing on His promises is a must for me. Have a Merry Christmas!

    • laura bruno lilly

      I wasn’t aware either Jill, till I did the math for this post! HA! When kiddos were little, that getting up extra early before they did and/or for school served as its own reward since it was ‘my’ time. Incentive, indeed.
      I hope you’re enjoying your blog hiatus, too.
      We’ll see you in the coming New Year.

  12. Jane Chesebrough

    These are hard times and I find a lot of news disheartening, yet I realize there is hope, too. I can’t begin to tackle the crap out there, yet I can, in my small way, be part of the solution. Thank you, Laura for what you have shared , especially this message in the video, “God Wastes Nothing-Not even Our Darkness.” It comes at a good time as I spent last night with a friend who is living with metastatic cancer. I am happy to see her attending to her own needs and I am sure this time you take for yourself is utterly important. I will miss your posts and wish you Godspeed as the increasing light shows you your direction. Peace.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Sweet wishes from one of my blogosphere ‘herd’.
      What a special friend you are, sharing time together with another during her own unrelenting darkness.

  13. Joe Finnerty

    I look forward to the day you return from your hiatus to again
    stimulate the lives of your blog devotees.

    • laura bruno lilly

      As always, your comments leave a smile on my face and a sprinkle of joy in my heart.

  14. Susan Ranscht

    I applaud your self-awareness, Laura. As you point out, we are surrounded by an abundance of inhumane behavior. Whether or not it has always been or will always be that way, it takes strength to face it and assert humane behavior in response. Too often, taking a break isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity if you need to rejuvenate your spirit.
    Merry Christmas to you and all your family. May the New Year keep you healthy and happily creative. Most of all, may you return refreshed and with peace in your heart.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Susan, I deeply appreciate your hearty affirmation!
      May the New Year keep you ‘healthy and happily creative’ also.

  15. L. Marie

    It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it? I’m glad you posted that video, because I needed it. And how aptly it addresses the list of sorrowful events you printed. We so need the Prince of Peace! May you find rest and peace this Christmas. Happy New Year Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Amen and amen.
      Stay snuggled in His arms, Linda.

      • Jennie Fitzkee

        Like you, Laura, I always feel that the shortest day is the return of light and a new beginning. My best to you as you take a blogging break. I’ll be here when you return. Merry Christmas to you, Laura!

        • laura bruno lilly

          Merry Christmas to you and your classroom, Jennie!
          Like them, it’s a comfort to know you’ll be ‘there’ when I return.

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