I will not pass this way again.
It is these words that I think about when another year draws to a close.
There are no New Year resolutions, a few hopes and dreams perhaps but mainly it is a time for looking back and not forwards.
And the looking back I am talking about is not about what I have done; rather it is about some of the people who I have met as I have travelled through the year.
When I was working in the hospice it was the absolute heroism that I met as people faced the end of their lives, and it was not just the patients, it was their families and friends to.
And it was not the pain or the other difficult symptoms either, difficult though they were, for the most part we could keep on top of those.
No, it was the overwhelming sense of thankfulness they had for the life that they had lived.
Yes, there was bitterness sometimes, a sense of being cut short, that there was work still to be done – that they needed to be listened to.
Thankfulness shone out for being born and having lived and loved and forgiven, for we all muck up sometimes. Heroes is the right word.
Now working in the parish I see amazing people work through the problems in their lives, illness, relationship troubles, unemployment, loneliness, worries about their sexuality.
It is a journey, this life, and to be allowed to walk some of the way with others is humbling. Yes, that is the right word too – humbling.
But thankfully life is also rich with wonderful things, a new child, marriage, a first job, holidays, retirement, falling in love and being loved.
We cannot be happy all of the time but I see people seize it when it comes along and rejoice with them too.
Yes, happiness is the right word, I think.
I will not pass this way again, but I thank God that I have made the journey.