Birthdays

Another Year Older

It has certainly been an interesting year, and I’m sure that none of us really anticipated it to play out the way that it has. It’s been a challenging time for all of us, and so as I’ve been reflecting on my birthday this past week and how the past year has gone there has been a great deal to think about.

Despite many trials and disappointments this past year, I’ve found that the optimism I wrote with last year was not misplaced. Life at 33 has certainly proved to be somewhat of turning point in many ways for me. It was just about this time last year that I began a serious relationship, and I’ll say that there is nothing like a world-wide pandemic to really test and bond you as a couple, especially within the first six months of dating. And the quarantines definitely helped me progress in my writing in a way I probably never would have otherwise, as all my other obligations and plans suddenly dried up and left me with a great deal of free time.

There are many trips I did not get to take this year, there are friends with new babies that I have not yet gotten to meet, and my heart has ached at the violence and fear that has swept across our country. Yet there has been good as well: a reordering of priorities, time spent with loved ones, a chance to slow down and reflect. And there has been quite a lot to reflect on.

For me personally, the biggest theme of this year has been trust. Many things have been taken out of my control and the future has seemed very uncertain. Even now, I’m getting ready to move out of the house that I grew up in; I’m cleaning out and sorting through twenty years of life, most of which will go into storage since my next accommodation will only be temporary. It’s a freeing experience to have to let go of so much, as well as being a good reminder of all the people I used to be, and it’s interesting to see the common threads that have remained throughout my life. But in letting go of the past, the uncertainty of the future seems to loom larger. That’s where the trust comes in: trust that I am loved and won’t be abandoned, trust that I am more capable than I often give myself credit for, trust that God’s plan is better than any of my own.

None of us ever knows what the coming year will hold, but I don’t think that truth has ever been more obvious than it has been recently. But our lives in this world were not meant to be easy; they are meant to test us and to purify us, they are meant to give us opportunities to exercise our free will and to show our love for God and for our neighbors. All I can wish for myself this coming is that I continue to trust and to love and to follow God’s will.

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