Many of you reading this likely know what a crazy year 2014 has been for me, particularly the last few months. Let’s tally just a few of the hits, shall we?
- We lost my grandfather’s cousin, who was like an aunt to my mother and almost like another grandmother for me.
- We lost my husband’s grandmother.
- I started a new job, which while in itself has been a wonderful experience, it was so difficult to say good-bye to my former coworkers and not to be able to work hand-in-hand every day with the amazing people at my (now former) client.
- I caught the flu early in the season, in October.
- I am now fighting another flu strain, because of course I am.
- I unexpectedly wasn’t able to spend Thanksgiving – the holiday closest to my heart – with my kids.
- Traveling to my in-laws’ for Christmas was a true, longer-than-24-hour trains, planes and automobiles experience.
- My younger sister passed away just before Thanksgiving.
And, of course, we all – in this country and in many cases throughout the world – have had to experience and try to get our heads around the events and tragedies of this past year: too many police-related tragedies and too much unrest to enumerate, Snowmageddon, three tragic and almost surreal airplane disasters, unrest with North Korea and Russia, the Ebola outbreak, and the loss of several beloved icons who had a positive impact on our world, just to name a few. It’s been a rough year all around.
Several people have made the comment that I must be ready to say good-bye and good riddance to 2014. But you know what? I’m not.
Yes, 2014 was rough, and I wouldn’t dream of hoping that 2015 will mirror this past year.
Still, we have a choice in what we do with the difficult events that life throws our way. We can hate the moments that hurt us, or we can learn from them. We can regret them, or we can bear in mind that even as we go through the worst experience, the fact of the matter is that we are here to experience it, and that alone is something to be grateful for.
When my kids were little, my husband asked if we could teach them to say a prayer before bedtime. I agreed, but with the request back that I could write the prayer, since I’m not religious. Here is what our kids learned and memorized and will say at bedtime (when they remember to):
Thank you for today, and thank you for tomorrow.
Thank you for our joy and even for our sorrow.
Thank you for what’s been and all there is to be.
And mostly, God, I thank you for always loving me.
That “thank you… even for our sorrow” bit was very important for me. We forget to be grateful for our moments of challenge and sadness. (Apparently I’m intended to be incredibly grateful for the year 2014!) But those trying and difficult moments mold us and speak to our hearts and help us realize even more keenly how fortunate we are in our moments of joy or even those times of simple peace and calm.
Here’s the thing: I am grateful for 2014. While I hope 2015 will be different and happier and more steady year, sort of a more committed-to-happy type of year, I refuse to just say good-bye to 2014. No, I’m not willing to do that. Instead, I’ll just say “thank you.”
Happy New Year, friends. Welcome to 2015.