By the time you reach 64 you have learned that life is hard and most days bring some kind of challenge. Along with the challenges of each day, there are all the little things that make us smile, that give us joy and make the hard things bearable.
Little things like…laughing with the children in our lives, cuddling with our pets, the first flower of spring and the last rose of summer, sunshine after the rain, laughter with friends, a walk in the woods or a gentle breeze on a hot day, the sand between our toes on the beach or the heat of the sunshine warming our face.
Those are the things that make the hard times easier. Those are also the things that don’t cost us anything but our time and our presence.
This year has been one of great loss for many people near and dear to my heart and for me. Those losses didn’t stop for Christmas or any other holiday. I have dear friends who have lost parents this year, some as recently as this week. I have lost some people this week that I have grown to love. I have had people near and dear to my heart lose their baby this week and people who were once like family to me, lose their son this year. So much loss in 365 days.
I know that 2018 is also going to be another year of loss, so much so that I find myself dreading it.
I have to remind myself hourly that love looks forward…and love moves forward, and love fixes things and love speaks in actions more than words.
I have to remind myself that I am “held”
I have to remind myself that I am strong enough to get through the hard stuff.
I have to remind myself that mixed in with the hard stuff are the blessings and the good stuff. It’s never all bad and it’s never all good…it is just life.
I was a professional nanny for 31 years. Casey was the youngest in my first nanny family. I loved and cared for him from the day he was born until he was 6 years old. I continued to love him and have him in my life even after the job ended. He was the ring bearer in my wedding and even though I never saw him much, we still kept in touch via Facebook. When he was taken from this earth in a cycling accident on June 25…it shook me to my core. It still shakes me to my core most days if I let it. I still grieve for his family and their pain.
A few days after this happened, my sister gave me a necklace that said: “Choose Courage”. It is one of my most treasured pieces of jewelry. I wear it every day.
In the dictionary, one definition of courage is “Strength in the face of pain or grief.
This was a perfect gift for an imperfect me.
As I close out 2017 and head into 2018 this is what I choose.
I choose courage to move forward. I choose courage to get through the hard things and courage to keep going even when life is hard.
I know for certain that 2018 is going to be another year of great loss. I know that some of that loss I am expecting, and some of it, I don’t know about yet….
To all of those who struggled in 2017, and all of those who know that 2018 will also be a challenge, I want to remind you to always be grateful. Every day finds something big or small to be grateful for.
I want to encourage you to reach beyond your personal pain and reach out to others that are hurting because that is how you heal.
If you are in a good place in your life, I encourage you to reach out to someone that is struggling. Just an encouraging word, a hug, a card or phone call to show you care.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort but it makes a difference. Acts of love are comforting. Acts of love remind us that we are not alone in our pain.
Acts of love are truly the healing that moves us forward.
I can’t say I am looking forward this new year, but I can tell you that I am looking forward with love to the good things that will carry me through the hard times.
I’m looking forward to finding more gratitude.
If we had to choose, we would never choose the hard stuff….but I know that those are the things that grow us and change us and I know I can do hard things.
I already have.
To 2018 and choosing courage.