When Merriam-Webster announced surreal as the word of the year for 2016, it seemed to fit perfectly. I actually thought it may have been a little too light-hearted because it was nothing short of painful for me.
I’ll be honest and tell you that during the first part of the year, I really thought it was just me. I thought the rest of the world was fine and everyone was happy and enjoying life. Until I started sharing my pain.
That pain led me to add another word to my year – reality. The reality for me was to take a hard look at my life and recognize that I was not above tragedy…or heartbreak…or grief…or sadness. We all know about the larger bad things in the world that have been difficult to digest. In order to escape the celebrity deaths, the Presidential election, the massive shootings of innocent lives we could ideally just turn off the tv, the computer, and the notifications.
But what about the things that were affecting our families, our friends, our livelihoods? For at least six months I truly tried to wish some of these things away. That didn’t work. Then I tried to write about them as if my blog proclamation would make things better. That didn’t work either. And then I shared my struggles, only to discover that a lot of people I know are also enduring trials of their own.
At the end of the summer, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I decided that I was going to somehow change the narrative and this was NOT going to be my story.
Cue the laughter and the irony because it was my story and these things were beyond my control.
- My only aunt, the matriarch of our family, died unexpectedly last spring.
- I discovered the harsh pitfalls of entrepreneurship that everyone talks about but somehow I thought I was exempt from.
- One afternoon I was talking about love and life with my sweetheart and the specific plans for our future when only a few hours later he called and said, “I can’t do this. Life with you is not going to work for me.”
- The city of Dallas experienced a horrific act of violence. The mass shootings affected where I work and they affected the career of my kids’ father.
- My ex-husband became very ill, and eventually was diagnosed with a chronic and terminal condition.
I thought I could change it all. I thought that somehow before December, I could come in and save the day. I wanted to change things and give us a fresh start for 2017. If I had a dollar for everytime I wished this year to be over, I would be a millionaire.
There are several ways I tried to combat the evil. I’ll save you the entire list, but let’s just say that one thing included exploring and pursuing the possibility of moving across the country. Once I learned that none of the fix-it scenarios I crafted were actually going to work, I accepted the fact that this wasn’t my rodeo to fix. What I did realize is that if I didn’t actually learn something from the tragedies on our lives, nothing would change.
So I stopped fixing and started learning.
- God is always there. You may not think so at the time, but He is.
- No matter what, be thankful.
- Slowing down the pace is okay, and sometime necessary.
- If you want a different result, you have to change something about your execution.
- Facing reality can be hard and not always what you want, but it is essential to your growth as a person.
- Everyone’s scars are different because everyone’s battles are different. There’s no need to compare, judge, or rank the pain.
- The purpose of a scar to promote healing. Hurt and pain may be inevitable, but healing is as well.
What did you learn from the past 12 months?