Beginning a New Year in the Land of the Living

A new Sunday Series, and how I’ve changed, you’ve changed, we’ve all changed- for the better.

I don’t plan to write for the next couple of days so I can focus on family, self and renewing my commitment to be a better me in 2023.

But I wanted to offer a few things I’ve learned this year, both about myself and about life in general.

The last couple of years have been wild.

Lots of low lows and not a whole lot of high highs.

Of course, 2020 was hard on us all. And I would say 2021 and maybe even this year have been, too. None of us has ever lived through a pandemic and getting used to a new normal while also recovering from the traumatic stress of job loss, death, illness, etc., threw many of us for a loop.

My buzz word for 2022 was death. In the months leading up to January 2022, I saw the word everywhere.

I lost two people I knew well to Covid and three I knew well to suicide. I struggled to regain my footing after having Covid myself.

Since 2021 had been such a rough year, seeing “death” as my word for 2022 was depressing.

Even so, I pushed through. And you know what died?

(Knock on wood because we still have a couple days left, but…) My hubris died. Ego, certainty, safety. Gone.

Which was funny, because hubris was another word that I saw constantly in the months leading up to 2022, a strange little word to see, right?

I even spotted an owl January 1 on my deck. A sure sign of impending doom.

My life has been filled this year with lots of uncertainty, lots of mystery, of putting away old things, of making amends, of allowing death to swallow me.

This has been a year of change, and I’m thankful for it.

As I’ve always told my kids, change teaches us to die well. We are 100% not making it off this earth in the shape we are right now. We will most certainly be changed, and not a single one of us knows what that means.

How could we?

If you think about it, there’s something exciting about that. Truly, once I let go of my idea of a literal hell full of eternal torment (I HIGHLY suggest you do this, too), I was able to lose the fear of change and even the fear of death.

Fear is an illusion; I’ve come to learn. If I lived here long enough to see good, and if I know the end of this is coming whether I want it to or not, how can I possibly be afraid?

I’m a Jesus-follower, and as such, my sacred text is the Bible. I do not follow it literally; I do not think believing it’s inerrant is foundational to my faith.

But a verse I love and have come to cherish can be found in the Psalms:

13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27

I am confident that my word for 2023, “beginnings,” will lead to more growth, more opportunity. And, challenges and all, it will lead to more blessings.

Praying that the God of 2022 carries you Gracefully and Mercifully into 2023.

See you soon,

Toni

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