The last time I sat down to write a review of the month of September – a friend of mine told me that I was too soft on what had happened that month. It had been a rough one – but as a realist tinged with more optimism than pessimism, I tend to try and remember what was better rather than dwell on what was bad or difficult. But I try not to sugar coat the things in life that are sometimes just plain sucky.
So with that in mind… with a year sitting behind me and a fresh one on the horizon, I’m trying to decide how I felt about 2009. The honest truth is I’m not sure. It was a year of self discovery – but I don’t know how “good” that was. It was painful. Coming to grips with some of the darkness in one’s heart is never a fun activity, but it is needed. I started attending a Korean church. That’s been great and I enjoy it and I’m also experiencing things I’ve never had to face before, which is a challenge.
People have come and gone out of my life. A season with one ended while seasons with others began. Old friends who I hadn’t spent tons of time with of late have been rewoven into the fabric of my life. (Sounds like a cotton commercial…) The new people I’ve met have impacted my life in ways that I never expected. I’ve been exposed to a different culture, food, language etc. Ideals that I’ve held so closely have been challenged. I’ve had to look at the way I’ve thought through things, processed issues and whatnot to allow the Lord to maybe open my heart to a new way He works.
I’ve watched new and old friends suffer, have triumph, celebrate and grieve. The same with my siblings. I’ve said good bye to dear loved ones the Lord decided to take home with Him. And I’ve been along side friends to welcome the new life He’s given.
It could be easy to sit down and look at major events of this past year – my pitfalls and successes – the accomplishments and the times of disappointments – single them out and process my emotion for each one. But I don’t see the use in that. Because I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that years like this one are just what they are. They’re life. I’ve found out there are often times more valleys than mountaintops. Nonetheless there is hidden loveliness in the valleys. There is brokenness and pain but I’ve seen beauty grow out of ashes.
And whether it’s my own doing that’s put me in a valley or the good, chastening hand of My Father that’s done it (and they usually do go hand in hand) I’ve learned that it is good to be there. That Jesus really can turn the desert into Eden. If I feel alone, wretched and hurt – He is still beside me. He hasn’t faltered. Through whatever I’ve experienced this year that is the reoccurring theme.
No matter what comes to me – joy or sadness, happiness or brokenness – it has come through His hand. He is faithful to continue to walk with me through it all. All I have to do, is when I fall, get back up and keep going. And I imagine that 2010 will be much the same way.