The year is coming to a close and we are all looking ahead to 2016. What will it bring? Will it be different or better than the last year? I know a couple of people who inevitably at this time of the year, say the same thing…”Boy am I glad that this year is over, what a terrible year, good riddance!” Every…single…year.
Before we are so eager to throw out the old, let’s pause and take a deep breath. What about the year can you be grateful for? What challenges did you overcome? What were some big “wins?” How did you generate a more fulfilling life? What relationships were healed? Did you create more self love? Did you do something on your “bucket list?” And if this year was one of the most challenging years to date, what did you learn from it? What were the unexpected gifts that surfaced? How did you grow?
In some ways I had a very challenging year. I had to come to grips with the fact that I may lose my son to an insidious disease. Lose as in die. How does a mother resolve that, ever?? In all of that pain, sorrow, hopelessness and powerlessness came a huge gift. I searched out resources to help me process it. People, books, blogs, audios, Ted talks, and groups, you name it. About a month ago I was talking to a friend who knew someone who was going through something similar. “Have her call me! I know how she feels, I can help.” My friend said that although we were going through similar situations, she felt that I had so much peace and grace in spite of it. “Well here is the truth,” I told her, “I feel that my son’s disease has been my biggest gift.” Not that I would want ANYONE to suffer as he has or I have, EVER. But I certainly would not have grown to the depth that I have if life would have been easy this year.
During this time a stranger (I don’t know him personally) in a meeting came up to me and said “I have a book for you.” I was a little surprised as we haven’t ever really spoken to each other at the meeting. “Wow, great! Thank you so much!” I said but I was really kind of wondering “why me?” So I took the yellowed paperback home and read it in two days, I was leaving for New Zealand and I needed to finish it and get it back to him. As I was reading I kept wondering “what is the message he wanted me to hear?” It was a very spiritual book, almost religious and I was intrigued. I wouldn’t have bought it on my own or even borrowed it from someone based on the title (which eludes me even now!) and back cover. Here is the message that I got…You (ME!) must be THANKFUL for EVERY thing. Good or bad. Happy or sad. Up or down. Easy or hard. ALL OF IT. I must thank God for EVERY thing. And I did. From that point on. Especially the hard parts. And I meant it because I know that there are no mistakes. I know that I was meant to be this boy’s mother for a reason.
Nobody gets a free pass from suffering. Minor suffering or sobbing on the bathroom floor, heart blowing suffering. But it is what you do with the suffering, how it moves you to the next phase of growth that is critical. And, can you actually be grateful for it ALL?
So for me, it isn’t OUT WITH THE OLD. The “old” is just part of the journey, the richness of life. The juiciness of this lifetime. Be thankful for it all, and usher in the New Year with a full and grateful heart.
let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. -Rumi
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