I am sitting here for one last silent Sunday of the year at my favorite bar. I sit here as many Sundays as I can, at the table in the corner by the window (and the outlet) and drink 1 or 2 or 3 grapefruit mimosas and I write.
Sometimes other people join me in silence, but most of the time I just sit by myself attempting to verbalize thoughts in my head. This has become one of my most favorite times of the week. Without the people around me knowing it; this bar has become a part of my church. It’s become a safe place for me to choke back tears and form thoughts and have weighty realizations.
So, tonight, I’m sitting here and thinking about all that 2017 was. It was a lot. I’ve been trying to separate the good and the bad. The ugly and the uglier. The places of heartbreak and the places where my heart hasn’t even gotten the chance to break.
Many things stand out here and there, so many people and places and events.
June is a big one. In June I turned 32, I had about 32 people that I adore here in Bellingham over to my house for tacos and laughter and love. In June I ended my time with the two year olds and turned 3. In June I felt betrayal and hurt that I can’t match to any other time in my life.
In June I went to my other home for camp and was reminded that I can take joy in what I do.
If I am being honest- a lot of other things feel like an immense blur.
I want so badly to say that this year was good. I want so desperately to say that this year redeemed the year before it. But it didn’t
I want to say that I found ways this year to be who I am. I want to say that I’ve learned to apologize less and to not second guess.
I want to say that my heartaches less and that I am 100% happy in my own skin. That needing a space for one has gotten easier.
I want to say that I’ve been brave.
I want to say all of those things.
But, I’m just not sure I can.
It’s funny. I spend 40 hours a week telling tiny humans that they need to use their words. I hold their hands and look them in the eyes and take deep breaths with them. I say, “I understand that you are feeling frustrated. I understand that your body feels upset. But what I need you to do is take some deep breaths and tell me with your words whats wrong.”
I felt a lot of things this year. I felt lonely, I felt pain and anguish for myself and on behalf of those around me. I felt joy. I felt love that I can’t really articulate. I felt every single damn day for the 18 tiny humans who are on my class list.
But, ask me to articulate what I was feeling on behalf of my own self and I was never quite sure.
I don’t think I was the only one with that problem this year.
A lot of things happened this year. Things in our control or out of it. Things that impacted us or our neighbor. There was anger and hate and laugher from disbelief. It spilled into everything. Every aspect of our lives were impacted whether we wanted them to be or not.
I don’t have the words to describe all the things.
But, I think what I can say, is that in spite of all the things, in spite of the loneliness and the betrayal and the hurt I didn’t give up. In spite of my inability to use my words, I didn’t stop trying.
In spite of all the things, there was still joy.
And there it is my friends.
In spite of all the things- there is still joy.
There are still moments of joy.
I tried, so incredibly hard, in the midst of all things to find joy.
I think we all did. If we really searched through our memories, we tried this year to balance all the things with joy.
I was and still am numb to this year. I’m numb to the things that made me feel less like the person I know I am. I am numb to the things that added to my character.
But, at some point, ice has to melt. At some point an asleep leg has to wake up.
So, to 2017 I say this,
Thank you for the people in my life.
Thank you for my roommate.
Thank you for my work wife.
For my bosses and my coworkers and all those I would never know without the Y.
Thank you for my church, for the people who are scattered in the rows around me, who are family.
Thank you for my forever best friend.
Thank you for my OCfamily and that little blue house in Irvine.
Thank you for my family whom I grow to appreciate with every passing year.
Thank you for opportunities to speak and space to give love and be love.
And to 2018 I saw this:
Let’s thaw out the numbness and find places each day to wake our words up a little more.
Please, I beg of you.
Use your words.