I look in the mirror for signs of aging. After all, this week I turned another year older.
I wonder if someone’s hair really can go grey overnight. You know, when they are terribly stressed or frightened. I think it’s true, but I’ll never know for sure… this is one area of vanity I’ve COMPLETELY caved into.
But its proven true—as people go through rough stuff, it often shows signs of age on them.
Thinking back over the last year and exorbitant stress during my last 365 days—I stand at the 10x magnification mirror, questioning why I suddenly have tear-rimmed eyes. Is it exhaustion? Sorrow? Gratitude? Or maybe it’s just the bitter-sweetness of it all.
I study the lines at the outer edge of my eyes. The deeply set furrow in my brow. The purplish shadow and crease under my eyes. The submission to gravity taken on at the corners of my mouth. Am I too critical on myself, or has the last year actually taken a toll on me?
WORDS, and WORK, and WONKY WISDOM
I leave the mirror and leaf through six Moleskine journals. Yes, this year required six. And that’s not even counting the 100+ pages of art journaling and drawings. And roughly 100,000 words of various published written works.
And then there are the books and scripture read. Clearly this last year I’ve been given the gift of time to process much. Enough to feel like I’ve been on a strange time-shift, where I live ten years of heartache, words, work, and wisdom. And now I’m back…and only one year has passed.
IN A YEAR
It’s been good. And yet it HAS been absolutely, without a doubt, the hardest year of my life. And truthfully there are things I would change if I could. Cruel, senseless, people only thinking of themselves. How I’ve been cruel to others—and myself—and God—and things that I would try to change or avoid. But for the most part—the hard and terrible parts that I’m not going to ramble about here—I accept and see how I couldn’t have gotten to HERE—this new year of my life—without the prior THERE.
This last year I’ve learned ten years of lessons through heartache, suffering, shame, and confusion. And I have gained so much that I am thankful (but please….no more).
WHAT I LEARNED
In this last year, here are just some of the truths I’ve taken to heart. Straight from and unedited from the stack of journals this last year.
- Sometimes, everything goes good. Notice it. Give thanks. Savor it…no matter how small it is.
- Forgiveness is the hallway between the doors of the past and the future. Go through the hallway.
- If someone makes me feel “less” than before I was around them…consider if I should be around them. It’s okay to make that boundary.
- External voices and the pressures of the world will drown out the still small voice inside me that speaks the Truth. I must take time and whatever space I need to hear that voice. I must honor that voice. It is sacred. It is God.
- I am not a hostage of my past and those in it.
- It’s never too late to start over.
- Make a commitment to work, to do good, and then just trust God to bless it.
- My life is my responsibility. No one else’s. Period.
- Coulda, shoulda, woulda is a stupid way to live and think.
- I am the ingredient God needs to put my life into purpose. I need to be willing to do the work, the hard work. God needs me to make my life what it is meant to be. Just cooperate. Pray for and find courage.
- Drop ALL shame. Feel guilt if appropriate AND then learn. But most importantly do NOT wear shame. Shame says “I’m bad”, guilt acknowledges I did something bad—but I will do better next time.
- Too many moments, days, are wasted by comparing myself to others. Embrace my authenticity. After all, didn’t God give it to me. Just to me.
- The opinions of others should NOT restrict the power God gives to me and can use through me.
- I can fly. “The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell.”
- I will be okay. Somehow it has to end up okay. If it’s not okay, then it’s not done yet.
FOUR WORD WISDOM
And lastly, something I learned through Patti Digh (go find out about her), was to construct simple 4-word wisdoms. Again, pulled from journals over the last year, here’s some wisdom and truth (for me).
- Let myself cry hard.
- Let other people in.
- Recognize and celebrate others.
- Speak up for someone.
- Create my inner sanctuary.
- Ask about their perfume.
- Hold hands in bed.
- Go on miracle walks.
- Seek out amazing adventures.
- Have a generous spirit.
- Keep a camera handy.
- Respect their perfect authenticity.
- Acknowledge the good outcomes.
- Seek Truth. Have Hope.
Thank you for being with me on this wild journey. I’m thankful. Blessed. Honored. And I truly look forward to my next 365-day journey around the sun, the truth, and the Light by which I’m guided.
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