Believe me, I am ready to put 2017 into my rearview mirror. In fact, I am looking forward to the new year more than I even realized. There is something freeing about putting concrete ending on a year of heartbreak and grief. I had been thinking about what I would say about the new year, but when I woke up, I saw a beautiful post from author, Shauna Niequist:
“Every New Year’s Eve, before we ring in the New Year, we share ten blessings of the year that’s ending.
I love this tradition: instead of jumping forward into new & next, we pause & pray & express gratitude for what we’ve been given.”
That made me stop and pause. For all the pain 2017 has brought, I can also see the blessings sprawled across the pages of the year. When in the middle of a painful season, it is often challenging to see past ones’ own grief, but acknowledging the rays of sunshine is not only important, but part of the healing process. So, without further ado…10 blessings of 2017:
- Bolt and Messi – they are my heart, they are my reason for getting up, and they have taught me more about resilience then anyone I have ever met. They make me laugh, cry, worry, and beam with pride. They are my harshest critics and yet, the most forgiving. Without having them with me, I would have no reason for crawling through this season.
- My furbabies – I have my beloved pups – my two big boys who will hug me when no one else will. I have my 3 kitties, who provided entertaining stories this year. Then there is the bearded dragon that came to live with us as a gift for Messi. She has been surprisingly interesting and helped me break a fear of reptiles.
- My home – in a divorce, many people are forced to move, but we have been blessed to stay in the home we rent. I have slowly removed reminders of my ex, while re-creating a safe space for my own healing.
- My community – I have written about this before, but this year has been about me finding and building a community to embrace.
- My family and friends – my parents have listened to many incoherent rants and tears in the past nine months. They live 3000 miles away, but are also just on the other end of the phone. I also have some new friends and have reengaged with other “old” friends. These people have helped provide some much-needed perspective at times.
- A new job – leaving my job as and ER nurse of nearly a decade was hard, but it was time. I felt like my life necessitated the change, but it has been good and challenging.
- School – in 2017 I completed four courses towards my master of public health (MPH) or 16 out of 58 credit hours. As of now, I have straight A’s, which feels awesome! School has been a great distraction, but also a way for me to start planning my own future.
- The outdoors – I love being outside – whether at the beach or on a hike or walking in my neighborhood. As I sit here, it is 12 degrees and there is snow on the ground, but even breathing in the frigid air while staring at the blanket of white, leaves a feeling a peace. The past few months, I have been so tired that I haven’t been outside as much, and I feel the loss, so I need to work on that this next month.
- Writing – I wouldn’t call myself a writer. This blog was born out of a suggestion of a friend. I am not great at journaling, but something about blogging has allowed me to organize my thoughts into some semblance of coherence. I have ranted and rejoiced. I have been able to diary the process of loss and grief and rebuilding. Looking back allows me to see the growth and the pain of the process.
- Faith – God and I are still in a rough spot. I am still trying to reconcile years of religious platitudes with the truth of my faith. It has been a difficult decade and this year brought my world crashing down. I feel like my faith is in pieces and I am often angry with God, but it has also been the one thing that I can cling to…sometimes just out of habit. However, just when I am about to say, I am done with God…something brings me back.
So, 2017, you have not been kind, but there have been redeeming qualities. I love harder and feel more deeply. I am more appreciative of the small blessings and simple beauties. And, at the end of the day I have a home full of chaos and hormones and laughter and love.