Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bring on 2016

      As 2015 draws to a close I reflect on my year. I tend to try to be a positive person but I can honestly say this year was quite challenging. I suffered the illness and subsequent loss of a loved one, struggled with illness myself and a painful surgery, and was forced to be among someone I would rather not see. Starting from January and until this present moment each month had one or more of these challenges.
     I thought a great deal about what it all means for me and came to the conclusion that what these really crappy things did was give me gifts. I know it might sound crazy but I love when things "Suddenly dawn on me." So here are the gifts I have been given this year.

     1.  Forgiveness. I never quite understood this one. I learned to forgive people that never asked for it but really hurt me. I know I will never hear an apology and they might not even feel sorry, so for me this is huge. I never knew how to move on from this but I saw how much anger I was harboring.  It wasn't keeping them up at night but it was doing that for me. I obsessed and fixated on it. I even thought about how their lives where a mess and it was because of their choices. So instead of carrying this I literally put my hand to my heart and tried to feel sympathy for them. As I touched my heart I imagined that if I were them and needed the help they needed what would I want someone to do for me?  The answer was clear it was time to help and although I do not forget the hurt I can know in my heart that I have done a loving thing for myself.

    2.  Patience. This year I saw people at their worst. Confused, making poor choices, and behaving in a manner that made no sense to me. I learned that sometimes people need time to figure things out. They need to go through making bad choices to come to the good ones. I even learned they may never make good ones. I needed to learn to let them make their choices. It was a very hard to stand by as people I loved struggle, but I learned that for them change was extremely difficult. It also put me back in touch with how difficult change is for me. I'm still working on this patience thing but have definitely gotten better.

     3.   In sickness and in health. No one wants to feel crappy everyday. For me this started in late August and continues today. I am married 11 years and am only 50. I never thought that at this age there would be days my husband would have to dress me, walk me to the bathroom, and drive me places. Luckily I can do those things for myself now but I still need his help and patience with me. I think back on how time consuming I was after surgery and how limited our lives had become. It showed me the gift I have in him. That silly sentence that is part of most peoples vows is often not something you seriously think about. He certainly lived that vow for me this year and that is a true gift.

     4.   Putting my air mask on first.  Of course this is not a literal thing but for me I would normally stay in situations that made me sick, stressed me, and caused me not to be my best self. I learned to just leave even if it doesn't look good to others around me. I have had to go home in the middle of chaos because I knew I could no longer be patient and kind and needed to get a breath for myself.  Sometimes you have to be a priority.

    5.  The Rosary. I went to Catholic school my whole life and yet I had not said the rosary in years.  At the urging of a former high school friend I picked up the rosary and had to reteach myself the prayers. So beads in one hand and kindle fire in the other I muddled through my first rosary. I wept tears of peace the first two times I said it. I still need the internet to remind me how to say it but it has given me a welcome break and a peaceful retreat from the day.

     I hope as you reflect back on your year you will find that it was a good one. I pray that if it was not, you will have come through it stronger and with better insight to handle the year ahead.  So for me I say bring on 2016. To you all I say be gentle with yourself and others and have a very Happy and Healthy New Year.