I can sum up 2016 in a few words…a year of painful growth.
I have learned many lessons. Some pleasant that left me laughing and filled with joy. Those lessons taught me that there is still good in people regardless of what you may see. Lessons of faith that flowed during times when I was not sure of where to go or where to turn.
I was taught lessons from some of life’s most unusual teachers. A six-year-old who taught me the value of telling your story no matter what others may think about it. It is my story and I own it. A co-worker who taught me the lesson of quiet patience because as with every change comes opportunities sometimes we just have to wait on them. A homeless neighbor taught me that I had more than I thought I had, even when I thought I had nothing. Just jump in and do it was a lesson I gained from my business partner, and she was right, as usual.
This year I learned how to speak power when I felt powerless, to find joy in times of sorrow, how to create my own happiness and that there is renewal in fellowship. My lessons topics included life, romance, love, family, friendships, relationships, and my spiritual growth. Waiters, children, co-workers, friends, family, strangers, those I loved and those I disliked have been my teachers this year, and I appreciate each of them for pouring into me that thing that only they could give.
I also had some very difficult lessons that left me in on my knees, in tears, silently screaming to the top of my lung why. Still, I am grateful to those lessons too, because even then, I learned. I learned from death many tortured lessons that sucker-gut-punched me and reached me in places I had not touched in many years, but I learned that I would survive. Illness taught me that there are ups and downs and thing I can and cannot control, but if I do what I am to do, I will be healthier. Money taught me that there are lean times and fat times, I can make the changes economically that I need to that allows me to keep a roof over my head, food on the table, and that is really all that matters. Love taught me that I was not sure what that word was, and I am not quite sure if I know how to receive and/or how to give it. But love also showed me how it shows up in experiences that literally nothing else can survive.
There were many disappointments in 2016, many that were shocking, confusing, and frustrating. 2016 also brought moments of surprise and awe. I guess that is how life goes. How you react and live in those moments is what tells the most about you. For me it was a painful growing season.
But when you think about it, most growth happens from pain. The pain of loss and being uncomfortable in that loss. The pain of gaining something or someone and being comfortable in that gain. Maybe it was the amount of growth opportunities that came in 2016 that made it what seems to be one of the most incredibly difficult years I have lived through.
Ahh…but I lived through it. I made it to this day, the last day of this year. I have survived. I have scars, bruises, scabs, broken hearts, fractured minds, and wounded egos, but I am still standing, and for that, I am eternally grateful. For every lesson and every teacher that came my way, taught me something new, and created an environment that allowed me to grow I am thankful.
So, I have sharpened my pencils, have new notebooks, and have charged up the laptop to take notes and learn the lessons in store in 2017.
Thank you 2016. I could not have made it this far without you.