Happy New Year! You may think I am a few months late with that greeting, but I feel I’m right on time. It was about exactly one year ago that I began to realize that the very poor health I had been trying very hard to ignore was not going to go away.
The past twelve months have consisted of umpteen hospital and doctor visits for me, several major surgeries, a layoff from a job I loved and was good at, personal disappointments, learning one of my oldest and dearest friends was diagnosed with cancer, seeing another dear friend face losing her spouse to suicide, and a decline in health for my 85 year old mother after she suffered a recent stroke. Even my sweet dog, Ginger, has had some great pretty serious health concerns that have had me pretty worried and scared that I may lose her.
Now let’s look on the flip side. These past twelve months have also brought excitement as one son graduated from high school and another son moved into his first real place of his own. It brought me character and personal development as I was forced to go out on my own and market my solo-practice law firm and build my clientele. It brought me an unprecedented level of compassion and empathy for my loved ones who were also struggling with health and personal issues. It brought visits from a best friend from Texas and one from North Carolina. It brought a miracle surprise baby for one of my closest friends. It brought new family members with the births of two new great-nieces. It brought me pride when I was recognized statewide for my work as an attorney. It brought me deep appreciation and an even greater love for the family and friends I have been blessed to call my own. Most importantly, it has brought me to feel the closest I have ever felt to God. I have learned to lean on Him in ways I never thought were possible, and my heavy burdens have been made lighter because of my faith.
What better week than Holy Week to celebrate the beginning of a “new year”? As we celebrate and honor the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, we also celebrate the new life blooming around ourselves, whether that new life is human, spirit, animal, or nature.
I encourage all of you to take this week to take personal stock of your past twelve months and list both the bad as well as the good points. Look long and hard at the bad and try to see what good has come of it, and repeat those good things over and over to yourselves.
“Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die.” ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson Be strong, my friends. Be fierce. Be loyal. Be kind. Be true to yourselves. Work hard. Play even harder. Be a doer; and by all means, be brave and never, ever stop fighting. Charge on, light brigaders.