You’ll have to excuse my lack of enthusiasm and exclamation points. I’m having a hard time these days.
I struggle with the whole Christmas season, so by the time all the festivities have wrapped up, I’m ready to just run for the hills and not come back.
I survived Christmas this year, but I’m not gonna lie, December was hard. The days are short and dark and in Calgary—where I live—it’s cold.
So, now it’s January, typically a time of fresh starts and resolutions.
But, quite honestly, even though I’m generally an optimistic person by nature, I’m not feeling the excitement of the New Year.
Reflecting on 2015, I realize that it was perhaps a more difficult year than I thought as I was battling my way through parts of it.
It began with a brutal head cold. “What started as a tickle in my throat on December 29, has become a nagging sore throat, irritated, coughing and feeling crappy,” I wrote in my journal on January 2. Happy New Year to me!
My CLL diagnosis was fresh and, despite enjoying relatively good health, the litany of potential symptoms was fresh on my mind.
Compromised immune system
Dramatic weight loss (*hoping for this one!)
Swollen lymph nodes
Risk of infection/excessive bleeding
Every little ache and pain was cause for panic, including fretting over whether my body would manage to fight the cold that reared its ugly head for the new year.
It was all so new. I was stumbling my way through un-navigated territory.
April brought new challenges as Leah came down with a cold following a swim competition that, after a few weeks, had developed into Pneumonia. Hannah caught the same cold, as did I on the heels of a Mother’s Day weekend trip to Saskatoon for a swim competition.
By mid-May the entire household was a cesspool of germs except for Leah, who upon her diagnosis received some awesome anti-biotics. Lucky her.
Hannah and I continued to suffer; being repeatedly assured that our condition was viral and there was nothing medical professionals (yes, plural!) could do for us.
Meanwhile, we were both slated to hop on an airplane on May 30 for her to compete at Nationals in Saint John, New Brunswick. After being sick for almost three full weeks, I didn’t have a lot of hope for either of us to be able to function in Saint John.
In an act of desperation, five days before our trip, I took us to a walk-in clinic and begged for drugs. I stopped short of getting down on my knees, but I confess I may have shed a tear or two. I was that worn down.
The doctor—thankfully recognizing an exhausted mother at her wit’s end—prescribed the same anti-biotic that Leah had taken and within two days we were both back on our feet. Hallelujah! (And, as a bonus, Hannah’s team came FIRST in the routine portion of the competition!) Nationals people!
August brought with it a bout of appendicitis that landed me in a hospital in Cranbrook, BC. Thankfully, the ruptured appendix was removed in a timely manner and the surgeon was skillful and adept and my recovery has been seamless.
December, with its band concerts, special events, Christmas parties and the general stress that accompanies all the holiday preparations, gave me the gift that keeps on giving: Shingles.
That, and an unexpected and very sad funeral just days before Christmas rounded out 2015. In hindsight, it was quite a year.
Of course, it wasn’t all bad. Amid my recollections of these events are a host of really great moments and memories.
My wanderlust kept me a little closer to home this year: camping in Yellowstone Park, Waterton and Jasper National Parks, a soccer tournament in Victoria and a lovely long weekend with my cousin in Parksville, BC. Of course, there was Saint John and many wonderful days spent lazing at Lake Windermere.
I even went to my first concert in more years than I care to remember – taking in an evening with my girls and the indomitable Taylor Swift.
It was an eventful year. Full of ups and downs.
I was reading a devotional the other day that talked about the lenses through which we filter the circumstances of our lives–our ups and downs, as it were. The author put forward that we basically have two options.
The first is that we can view our circumstances through disillusionment and disappointment. She writes, “when something happens in my life that catches me off guard with pain and hurt, it’s hard to see that it could be part of a bigger plan to bring about something good down the road. I want comfort. I want relief. I want the hardship to go away. We have a tendency to walk away when we don’t understand.”
The second option is Love. “If we predetermine that no matter what happens, we are going to stand on the truth that God loves us, then we can filter everything through that reality. His love is a fact that doesn’t change, not a feeling that sways with situations. His love is a certainty above every circumstance.”
So, it’s got me thinking about which filter I’m going to use on the past year. And, even more than that, how am I going to approach the new year, given that I’m feeling so flat only a week in.
The author of that same devotional concluded with these words, “Deserting God will not give you any of the comfort or relief you are looking for. Hope is only found in Him. Stay with Jesus. Filter your situation through the reality of His love and whatever you don’t understand, can’t process or feel like you can’t bear one more day, give it to Him.”
Speak His HOPE over your hardships.
He is faithful.
Well, I’m not making any grandiose resolutions. I’m not declaring that this year is going to be different from all the rest. I’m putting my HOPE in the ability to view my life through the filter of Love in all my circumstances. And I’m going to see where that gets me in the short term of this journey.
And Love. One foot in front of the other…
Happy New Year! (exclamation point!)