Good riddance 2017. Is that a bold enough statement for you? There are some years when hard stuff comes along, and then there are the years where the hard stuff piles one on top of another until you are buried. 2017 was one of those for us. We began the New Year in the hospital with Bill’s dad, and it went downhill from there. Job loss, health and safety issues, moving Ray, business changes, relationship changes, and, and, and. It was the year that just kept on pummeling us over and over again. We are bloodied, but we are still standing, which I think is quite an accomplishment!
I have not shared much of our struggle on my blog this year because, honestly, it is too complicated and some of it is a bit hard to believe. If I was writing this as a story for a book I would say, “All that cannot happen to one character. It is not believable for that much upheaval to occur all at once. Do a rewrite.” However, in real life, we don’t get rewrites. We go forward with as much strength as we can muster. One foot in front of the other. One breath at a time. I share what I can, and I hold back the rest to avoid further pain. I pull back, get quiet, and hold on. I dig my roots deep and try to have faith.
I rejoice in the good, because even in the bad years, there are good things which are visible and deserve to be celebrated. In fact, the highlights are even brighter when the rug is out from under us. The fact that two of my kids got degrees this year, under these circumstances is amazing. Better yet, they got jobs! 🙂 One of the kids was home just in time to help us get Bill’s dad moved. Can you say, perfect timing? We couldn’t have survived the task without him here. Another is about to finish her Master’s degree. Woohoo!! And in the midst of life’s upheaval, I started working for Adventures in Missions, which has been a huge blessing to me, and Bill has recently started his piano tuning business back up. On January 2nd, I will be 11 years cancer free. Added time is never a bad thing, even in the hard years! As you can see, the year is not without its happy moments. One thing I know from doing life for 54 years is there is always a silver lining. Even if the storms are more violent than usual, and more persistently hovering over us, there is always some positive somewhere, if I look for it. AND there are always others who have it much worse than we do, so self-pity doesn’t actually work. 😉
I know for sure, God is not surprised by anything that happens. He is in the midst of difficult times with his encouragement and care. He uses everything for good and I can honestly say, as hard as things are at the moment, they are all working for our good. Ultimately, I will look back and be amazed at all he did through this time. I will see his hand making changes and directing our lives into the new places he has for us. But that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the painful parts. 🙂 I can sit in the dark places and feel alone, but I can also know that I am not ever truly alone. I can have a tantrum, but I can also cry myself out and see that I am held in the midst. I can say good riddance to one year, and hope the next will be better. So, pardon the mess as my character is developed, yet again. I am thankful for those who do not abandon me, but sit in my mess without trying to fix it all. Holding space for others is such a gift.
I look forward with hope, and while I know current circumstances will not magically disappear on this New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, I am grateful for the feeling of a fresh start this night brings. New beginnings always feel fresh, even if they are only illusions. Tomorrow is just another day, but with it comes hope and to that I cling. Happy New Year everyone and may 2018 be a year of blessing for us all!