Since the beginning of my fellowship in the beginning of 2012 this December has become the most challenging month for me. And there are so many reasons for it.

Apparently these challenges are not linked to my professional life – my fellowship at the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota has been very interesting and rewarding experience from the very first day.

My anxiety is rooted in various December events resonating with me from my past and present. For me December has always been a month of changes – as, perhaps, for many who celebrate ending the year, reflecting on its gains and losses, and making plans for the next one.

I have always had mixed perception on this month. It was another December of 1988, when a disastrous earthquake swept through my country, leaving over 25,000 people dead, hundreds of thousands homeless and injured, and 40% of industrial capacities of my country in ruins. In a very weird way for me personally that earthquake marked the beginning of an end of the USSR – an end of the whole world with its own rules, philosophy, ideology, lifestyle and culture. Those ruins of December 1988, covered with dusty snow, are imprinted into my memory as a symbol of this crazy, ever-changing world, changing constantly, unexpectedly and sometimes unpredictably.

Our world and our life are changing with each and every day, affected by an unending eternity of interconnected events, happening close and far. The pace of days is spinning faster and faster, bringing yet another year to its end. Another year with its losses and achievements – and it can feel even more acute or edgy, while one is far from home and surrounded by “festive irritants” of this holiday season. All these internal thoughts and external stimuli make me to search for some sort of spiritual balance that I could hold on to.

I just believe it is important – to have that balance and peace within, to be able to find and keep it, especially amidst of spinning life. Can’t say though I have it right now… But I will get there.

When I am re-reading this posting, it somehow sounds too “doom&gloom”-y. That wasn’t my purpose, though. So, for a better and more positive closing, I am trying to come up with more proper seasonal message and holiday wishes – for myself and my fellow Fellows: may we always have balance and peace in our hearts, may our losses of friends or loved ones be softened by another bright spirit entering our lives, may our challenges be always matched and overcome by our eagerness and strength, may we always have hope and desire to face and take on another day. May we always be able to enjoy our life to its fullest.

Peace & joy to all of us.
Happy upcoming holidays.

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