Chapel Chimes: Reflections on the New Year

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date January 23, 2023

Reflection from The Rev. Richard Hanna, Kirkwood by the River Chaplain

As we approach the end of January, I would like to share a few reflections on entering a brand new year. Some of you may know that the month of January is named after the Roman God, Janus. On some Roman coins of that ancient era, Janus is pictured with two faces: one looking backward and one looking forward. The image symbolizes the truth that we must take with us the lessons we have learned from the past as we move forward into a new year. The spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional growth that many of us resolute to make priority depends on our carrying the past into the future with new light.

But the greatest truth as we move into a new year is that we need to trust God to walk with us along the way. As God affirms in Hebrews 13:5-6, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And in the final words of Matthew 28, Jesus declares, “Behold I am with you always, until the close of the age.”

So, let us claim the affirmations of Scripture and the truth that God is with us always as we move into 2023 – and may we pray that it will be the best year that it can be.

“May God make your year a blessed one!
Not by shielding you from sorrow and pain,
but by strengthening you to bear them as they come;
Not by making your life easy,
but by giving you His power, even when life is hard;
not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
but by giving you His light even in the shadows;
not by granting your every wish;
but by helping you to respond to the needs of a hurting world.”


The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents