Honestly, I'm not very good with them. Sure, I'll get all nostalgic, but at the end of the day it just feels like a lot of pressure to me. Example- the Christmas tree almost always goes up during Thanksgiving weekend. This year...well, this year has been tough, brutal, awful, miserable...pick a pitiful sounding describer and you get the idea...so the tree suffered. I'm sure the poor thing, only a year old, felt it was going to languish away the holidays in the crawlspace.
We finally hauled it out three days before Christmas.
But the New Year's blog post? Considering I haven't publicly posted since last New Year's day, I feel I should probably adhere to this little tradition. It is a day late...but since "late" has morphed into entirely new meaning this year, please just be thankful it isn't the New Year's post which has pictures of the 2015 Valentine's Day breakfast for my girls. Sound good? Let's do this...
2014 was a year which required silence. I could not publicly post about pain or joy or really anything. Last year was difficult in ways which have been unmatched in the history of my quiet, little life. Our family broke apart. We faced what half the population of the world has endured, a family separated, one whole becoming two halves. A mom and a dad apart, with three children shuffled back and forth between. I can't and won't speak for Ron, his story is his to tell, same as mine.
For me, I went a little crazy from the breaking apart. Or, perhaps more accurately, I cut myself to pieces on all the sharp remains after the breaking. Years of ugly, unresolved issues become death when released into the open without the grace of hope covering them. I'm pretty honestly sure I was just a wee bit insane for a couple of weeks...months...there. Maybe that's all in my head, but maybe that's the point of insanity anyway. My girls were brave and then they shattered.
But we survived, as always. I'm starting to think that surviving isn't exactly the best barometer of making it through tough times. We didn't die...give us a high five. There are many points in between happiness and death...and survival can mean so many things. One can survive an event and yet be changed so dramatically that death might have been more gracious than attempting to move forward in the alteration.
So here's a better description- the girls and I got real with each other and had to daily offer tremendous grace and forgiveness, as we put one foot in front of the other. My Mom has a favorite phrase she uses when the girls are fighting with each other:
"Girls, now don't be ugly with each other."
I honestly never really understood that phrase until this year. I get now that ugly can describe more than outer appearances. It can be hate-filled attitudes and cutting words. Confusion that spills out of our hearts and shoves from our mouths, destroying those we love. We were ugly in 2014, for sure. Angry, confused, bitter, hopeless, hurting, and full of panic and fear for the future. All five of us...I will not speak for Ron in anything else, but I will in that, because I know it's truth.
I had friends come alongside me the past year that quite literally carried me through. Some were there for a season and some remain. Here is a public shout out to my closest friends- Melissa, Shannon, Josh, Maria and Margaret- thank you for holding, listening, helping, blessing and being my constant support. I love you all so very much. And for my co-workers at Challenge...all of my amazing teachers and staff, who saw my pain and encouraged me this year...Thank you. We are a family there and I am humbled to be part of it.
I learned a lot of lot of lessons this past year. Here are some simple ones that are important when facing a crisis:
1. Get real. You can't move forward if you can't figure out and say the truth out loud. The quote at the top is the truest thing I've learned all year. Stop lying to yourself about the actual circumstances in front of you. I have serious trouble figuring out truth in situations, especially in the things I tell myself about others and about myself. I was taught years ago, through heavy emotional manipulation, how to not trust my gut instincts. I am in slow recovery from this abuse, but it's a process.
2. Acknowledge your part and forgive yourself. This one is so hard for me...both parts...that I really shouldn't even write it, in integrity. I tend to take all the blame or none at all. Figure out the truth and then be done with the things that are done. Let go let go let go let go.
3. Say you are sorry. Daily, if necessary, and especially if there are children present in this crisis with you. We all say and do things in the stress of a crisis that are hurtful. Be humble and apologize and watch hearts start to flourish again.
4. Find people who care about you without agenda and draw them close to you. Do your best to be there for them as they are there for you. I have been so blessed in this area.
5. Flush your pride down the toilet, but keep your self-respect wrapped around you. They are two very different things. Respect and build a healthy relationship with yourself. This action will impact all your decisions and relationships positively.
6. Walk forward in gratitude, every single day. Do not drown in all the negativity of the crisis. Gratitude keeps us centered and calm.
I've predicted for the past two years that something big was coming for our family in 2014...and I suppose I was right, in a horrid sort of way. No speculations this year. Just hope for healing and peace, and a finding of the joy we searched for all of 2014.
That's a heavy New Year's post. Thanks for reading. I wish joy for you this year as well. Comment below, follow me on here...I promise I will be writing more this year...or shoot me an email. I'd love to hear from you.