Wednesday, December 30, 2015

On Showing Up

It's a wet and dreary day here in Dayton. It is the eve of New Year's Eve -- that day that ushers in a new year; we of the human variety, with our starry eyes and resolutions loaded and cocked for that first day in January, we can tend to await this day with frazzled anticipation. This'll be the year we will shed those extra pounds and be a healthy eater. This will be the year we become organized and cook every meal at home versus going out. This will be the year we find love, stop being a doormat, cease with the choosing of those so blatantly wrong for us. This will be the year we think before we act, pay off those bills, shed the calloused skin of the version of ourselves we'd rather not sleep with at night anymore.

Hear my heart, these things are not bad. These desires for our little lives and hearts and health are not deplorable. They are not bad ways to want to kick off that new year. But could we consider a different approach?

Roll with me a minute, here. What if we stopped starting out each new year with a laundry list of half-hearted attempts at making ourselves "better" or "more whole" or simply distancing ourselves from who we were in the year we're stepping out of? What if we took the time to really consider what all those days and hours and minutes of the closing year did to shape us?

I feel as though, every year, I say "this was the biggest year of my life" or something in the vein of "so much happened, I'm so changed." And each year it rings with truth. But 2015 feels alarmingly different in comparison with the years that came before it.

2015 found me ringing in the new year alone, on my couch, with pizza and New Girl. 2015 was the year my grandmother was diagnosed with leukemia; it was the year my great grandpa Floyd got to see his bride, again. 2015 was tightly laced with lessons on what it means when your next door neighbor, turned best friend/first single friend in Dayton, meets her person and gets married. This was a year when not one, but three, of my tribe members were called outside the confines of the area code we all used to occupy together. 2015 saw me getting on a plane and flying to Hyderabad, India; she saw me falling in love with a 13 year old boy and recognizing that my heart really can't be mine if it is to receive what it needs - it must be wholly in the hands of my Maker. 2015 taught me that a diagnosis of depression, on top of that anxiety disorder, can't extinguish my flame if I don't allow it. 2015 was filled with dark, cobwebby corners that bit and scratched and scathed the skin. It warmed me from the inside out with new friendships, four hour phone calls, FaceTime dates, and the reminder that the whistle to ring in a time-out isn't necessarily best in my hands; protection sometimes looks like scalding pain in the moment, but it is something I must welcome warmly.

2015 found me a girl too afraid of her own thoughts and desires and dreams to be alone with herself and she's leaving me a woman who has come to know the faithfulness of a God who holds all those things tight to His chest because He knows when the cards need to be played.

There are certainly things I want to do in 2016 -- the bills and the weight, I'd surely like to shred them. But I no longer want to be a woman who believes she has to resolve to fix so much about her life. I showed up in 2015 in ways that I never believed I would. I showed up and bore the brunt of what I needed to in order grow. I showed up. And then I lifted my eyes and found myself not alone, but surrounded by people who chose to show up, too.

There is power in showing up for people and having them show up in return. There is meaty muscle in people choosing to stay.

I don't know what your 2015 looked like -- often times what we watch other humans walk through is merely a fraction of what their life feels like from the inside. I don't know if you're making resolutions or simply resolving to no longer resolve. But I think we - the pumping organs and fire-fueled blood wrapped in feeling flesh - we should breathe in the knowledge that we made it through another year. And those scars and burns and battle wounds turned killer life-tales, they're worth remembering and guarding. There are moments I would like to forget from 2015; people I should've said no to instead of the bated breath of a yes; there are plot lines I wish I could've experienced much sooner than I did. But I won't forget the moments, I will accept that saying yes may have been misguided, but there is nothing to be done now, and those experiences happened in the most timely manner, no question. It is with complete certainty I would say no to the offer of hitting the backspace on any minute of 2015 because, let's be real, Jesus wrote each of those dances on my queue card for the most explicit of reasons. 

If 2016 begins and you feel like you need to slither out of the skin of 2015, then go for it. But I find there to be great and powerful worth in knowing that it's okay to search out the grace of the wounds and the victories. You aren't required to make resolutions -- you are not a problem. You showed up. You made it.

And that, that right there is what we should be celebrating.


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  2. Novel way to look at the past year. Tone of the author is 'Hope'.

    Few human beings are always happy, but the others, whom the life always discloses its disposition filled with contests, should look at the challenges and smile for then the very folks become formidable to those uninvited guests. Cheer, joy, focus and hardwork are the ones to be remembered or the situation will render times so inscrutable that people may not be able to conjecture their own countenances.

    Keep Smiling

    One Urdu Quote translated to English:

    Elevate yourself to such a level that God before issuing a decree of fate, asks you for your opinion.