“I bet you’re so ready for a new year,” they say with sweet sympathy.
“I’m sure you’re ready to put 2014 behind you,” they pronounce with pity.
“I have a feeling 2015 will be a better year,” they hypothesize with heart.
But I don’t quite know how to respond.
While I love the symbolism that a new year can bring, I don’t get that fresh start when the clock strikes midnight this December 31. On January 1, my husband will still have cancer, fears will still be present, days will still be hard, and unknowns will still be unknown.
And I know I’m not alone in the ‘less than fresh start to 2015 club’. This has been a hard and messy year for lots of us, hasn’t it?
This post is for all of us whose 2014’s will end in a minor key, full of dissonance, with no resolution yet composed. This one is for all of us whose pain from 2014 won’t get the memo to disappear before the ball drops. This post is for all of us who are starting 2015 with the lingering hard of 2014.
There’s no sugar coating it or silver lining for it, there’s no easier way to phrase it: This new year is going to be hard. So was last year (and for some of us, the year before that, and the one before that…) and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we’re heading into a new year already weary, worn, and wary. But we are not defeated.
So you know what? I’m raising my polka-dotted mug of ginger tea (the calm for my anxious belly storm), I’m turning up my current favorite pump me up song, and I’m cheersing in spite of it all, nay, I’m cheersing because of it all. I’m cheersing to you fellow metaphorical mountain climbers because if there were ever worthy inspirations to toast: it’s “to the brave ones!” We are a great cloud of faithful witnesses to one another of how to walk hard roads by simply walking the hard roads: Imperfectly, sometimes begrudgingly, but ever faithfully.
Cheers to the brave ones who dare to hope when the odds are not in their favor.
Cheers to the fighters who risk getting out of bed each morning though tired bones and weary minds plot against them.
Cheers to the tender-hearted who refuse to harden that bleeding heart – who keep feeling even though feeling hurts.
Cheers to the gritty ones, who keep being thrown punches and curve balls, and whose faith deepens and widens all the more.
Cheers to the ones who know that their callings are not on hold because of their current situation, but who trust that there is purpose in their pain.
Cheers to the ones who want nothing more than to see God do a “new thing” in their circumstances but while they wait, choose to see all the “new things” God is doing in their hearts in the process.
Cheers to the ones who believe that even if their heart and flesh give way, God is the strength of their heart and their portion.
Cheers to the ones who understand that testing produces a perseverance they would have never known or understood had there been no testing.
Cheers the ones who are convinced that nothing – not death or life, not angels or demons, nothing present or future, no height or depth – can separate them from the love of God.
Cheers to 2015 friends. Though it may not be clean, new, or fresh, it’s still a year to learn, trust, grow, and be brave – and I can toast to that.