The love bird was singing despondently. My son told me to release it. Birds are meant to fly freely with the wind, not caged in a home. So we said goodbye to the yellow love bird.
It was time for Cousin Albert to go back to Australia. He had spent summer with us frolicking in the warm sands of the beach, swimming and sailing across the calm green seas. So we said goodbye to Cousin.
Grandfather had been in a comatose for almost six months. He suffered a stroke on Valentine's day. A life support system kept him alive but not for long. Finally, he gave up. So we said goodbye to Grandpa.
Indeed, it was a year of goodbyes.
The phone rang persistently that morning. The call was from the hospital. The daughter of my best friend had given birth to a 6-pound baby girl. She was such a cuddly little pink beauty. We said hello to baby Cathy.
Aunt Sylvia came home for Easter, the first time in 12 years. She has been living in Greece most of her life. It was a tearful but exciting reunion. There was a lot of catching up to do. We said hello to Auntie.
A new family moved in the neighborhood last spring. They came from Latin America. They could hardly speak English and were quite shy. We tried to help them in any way we could. We said hello to our new friends.
Indeed, it was a year of hellos.
My little niece joined several math competitions during the school year. She was full of bright expectations. Despite her persistence, she never won. It was disappointing.
Brother Robert's job applications overseas were repeatedly rejected. He had spent quite a sum of money for the processing of his documents and for completing the requirements. Whatever the reason, he failed to meet the approval of the employers. It was disappointing.
Jim proposed marriage to his girlfriend of five years. He did the traditional getting-down-on-his-knees then presenting-a-gorgeous-diamond-engagement-ring in a romantic-candlelight-dinner with sweet-violin-music-playing-in-the-background. She said no without explanations and then broke off with him. It was disappointing.
Indeed, it was a year of disappointments.
Once again, I was faced with the obligation of settling my monthly bills as well as the expensive tuition of my son in medical school. Money was not easy to come by. Budgeting my income was always a challenge. Somehow, when the deadline came, I always had the amount needed. It was a time for cheers.
My youngest son came home with a very bright smile on his face. His short film won first prize in a prestigious competition. It was his first try in movie making and it immediately caught the eye of experts. Such a wonderful opportunity for him! It was a time for cheers.
I was promoted to a management position. My efforts, at last, paid off. It was a golden moment in my career. Everyone agreed that I deserved it. It was a time for cheers.
Indeed, it was a year of cheers.
Looking back at the seasons of phases can be a relief or a nerve wrecking experience. Life is a rainbow spattered in varied moods, emerging from different colors of brightness and darkness. Yet, these phases blossom into memories that make us cry or smile or just shrug our shoulders. Every weather that we face challenges us to make choices toward playing a game of chance, accepting our fate without putting up a fight or emerging as champions.
There's always a caring hand to hold, a loving heart to trust and an unparalleled wisdom to seek. The phases that happen are his strokes of genius that paint life into a golden trophy to behold. The soothing melody of a song called hope can only be heard in our brokenness. It is a song that plays in every note of our todays, yesterdays and tomorrows. We are never alone, even during those times when the only echo we can listen to is the pounding sound of our own breath.