Good day, dear friends! Here we are at close of another year. We’ve run, walked, and sometimes crawled these past 365 days. Now we find ourselves tying the bow, on the box we call 2016, but before we put the box upon the shelf, may we take a moment to ask the question: What has 2016 taught us?
Well, I can’t speak for you, but here are just some of the lessons I’ve learned from 2016:
- Strict New Year’s Resolutions never last. Most New Year Resolutions have something to do with diet and exercise. I begin the new year with strict rules as to what I’ll eat and what I’ll not eat. I plan a strict regime of running with at least three days of strength training per week. I start out with the best intentions but as the weeks pass so does my determination, and I eventually find myself paying $20 a month to house a treadmill I rarely use. So this year, my resolutions are not as strict. Instead of limiting myself to a 1000 calories a day, I’ll pay more attention to eating healthier…you know, more vegetables and less junk food, and most of my exercises will consist of doing those things I love like playing with my dogs and taking long walks in the park.
- True friends/family still love you, even when you’re ugly. I’ve never been as ugly as I was on election night 2016. That night I sat in front of my TV, and as I watched state after state vote for Trump, I entered into a downward spiral, one that wouldn’t stop until I drowned myself in gin and vomitted obscenities all over Facebook. Friends, it was ugly…very ugly. I was ugly. If you’d like to read the sordid details visit my post Vomiting All Over Facebook After that night, I was unfriended by many, however my true friends, understood I was in pain, and that the pain must have been great, for me to do something so out of character. My true friends didn’t judge me, but rather offered a shoulder for my tears. Most importantly, they gave me the space to hurt, while lingering close enough to feel their love.
- Depression fades with passion. I’ve battled depression for as long as I can remember. I use to think, if I awoke in the morning with a feeling of depression, that I was doomed to spend the rest of that day feeling sad. This past year I’ve learned, that my depression fades and sometimes, even disappears, when I’m doing the things I love, like painting, writing, reading, cooking, gardening and taking long walks. The hard part is making myself begin, as the depression I battle begs for solitude and darkness. The key, for me, in 2017 is to have the initial will power to set my passions in to play.
- Making a difference in the world, happens one person at a time. After Trump’s victory I fell into hopeless despair. The very next day, I hid within my home, crying and thinking America was lost. I worried for my fellow-man. I worried immigrant families would be torn apart. I worried suicide would increase within the LGBTQ communities. I worried, my rights as a gay American would be stripped away. I worried young girls would lose self-esteem in a world that judged them by their appearance. I worried for my Muslim friends…would they be sent to internment camps? I worried for all out-casts…myself included. I worried so much, I became debilitated with fear. The third day after the election I forced myself to go outside. As I drove, I noticed a homeless person standing on the side of the road, holding a cardboard sign with the words, “homeless and hungry,” scribbled across the front. With tears running down my face I handed the gentlemen a twenty-dollar bill, our eyes met, and as we stared at each other, I felt the fear inside deminish. I smiled and he smiled and I felt hope. I realized in that moment that, yes… “we are stronger together.” Regardless of who our president happens to be, we still have the power to change the world…one person at a time.
Everyday I try to read something encouraging and then spend time in prayer. The last day of 2016 I read a portion from “My Utmost For His Highest,” a devotional book written by Oswald Chambers. His words gave me hope for the coming year. When I sat down to write this blog, my intentions were to simply share this hope with you, but one word led to another, and so after 725 words, I still haven’t shared Mr. Chambers words.
His words reminded me, that our future is not contingent upon our past. We are not bound by the mistakes of 2016, but rather we can be transformed by them. By God’s Grace we have been given a new slate to write upon in 2017.
May his words bless you with hope for the coming year…
“…Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future…As we go forth into the coming year…let us go out with the patient power of knowing that God will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.” ___ Oswald Chambers
Friends, let us go into 2017, confident and full of hope!
(May hope fill the interior, and radiate outward.)