Hello. It’s me.
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.
Kind of. (I guess I would like to meet you all one day…eventually…)
Given the long blogging hiatus, I felt it somewhat necessary to reintroduce myself, and how better to do that than by quoting Adele?
So, yes — hello. I’m still surprised (and humbled) that my blogging stats haven’t dipped and that people still visit and have returned to my blog to read. I am thankful for you, my dear readers.
Yes, I haven’t blogged at all lately. I’m going through a period of transition right now — I started a new job, I moved from one province to another…I’ve been busy. I had no time to blog. And when I had time, I had no Internet, save on my phone (and blogging on a phone is hard). And when I finally could foresee having a little time and Internet access, my laptop wouldn’t turn on (the screen would be black and all it would do is beep at me. I saw smoke coming out from underneath it. Anybody know what happened and why that happened and if it can be fixed?). I had blog drafts on that computer… sigh. Oh well.
Thus, I haven’t had a chance to write my typical soul-bearing blog posts. For this, I apologize.
But I am here now in a pensive mood with my reflections on 2015 and lessons learned over the past year. I thought you might be interested in reading them, so I am sharing them with you.
For many, 2015 was a great year. For me, 2015 sucked, and I am so glad to see it go.
If, on January 1, 2015, you would have told me what I would have to go through this year, I would not have believed you. In December 2014 I was already silently praying that I could skip over 2015 and go straight to 2016, but I didn’t realize 2015 was just going to be so horribly bad.
One day I shall probably explain in greater detail the vicissitudes I endured in 2015. I am not at a point to say, specifically, all that happened, but just know that it was not a good year for me or my loved ones. Far from it.
This post is for those who nearly had the life pressed out of them in 2015. This is for those who were squished and squashed by yesteryear, who often found themselves between a rock and a hard place, who jumped out or were forced out of the frying pan into the fire. This is for those who were on the outside looking in. This is for those who wondered if worshipping God truly made a difference, who wondered if God could be trusted, who wondered if He was some kind of teasing sadist or sadistic tease. And of course, this is for those who silently nursed Kettle chip addictions while waiting for God to make a move (or maybe that’s just me).
I have learned that when you do leap from frying pan into fire, that God will catch you. That His fire – the Holy Spirit – will refine you and burn off the dross to reveal a little more of His character.
I have learned that my God will supply all of my needs…and some of my wants too, because He is just that good. Perhaps not all of my wants, but all of my needs.
I have learned that God has a plan. He is a designer and He is masterfully writing the story of my life, even when some periods are unbearably dull.
I have learned that when you pray, God will answer your prayer however and whenever He deems fit. I don’t have the honour of choosing by whom or what or in which way my prayer is answered. The answer will often be humbling. And it will often (always?) be more and better and bigger than my original pithy, pathetic plan.
I have learned that God hears prayers. That sometimes He’ll answer the mundane, monotonous, milquetoast, seemingly inconsequential ones (like, “Lord, help me find my sock,” or “Lord, where did I put my tank top?”) while we wait on the larger ones, to remind us that He is not deaf to our pleas and that He hears all of them and that He hears us. That we are heard. That He is always listening. That everything that is important to me is important to Him. Sometimes I don’t care so much about the answer as I do about being heard.
I have learned that family is everything, and that my nephew is the funniest, smartest little boy on the planet.
I have learned the meaning of true friendship. I have learned that I am surrounded by people who know what it means and who have been so kind as to teach me and show me. I have learned that it is something that I need to work on.
I have learned that there are more people praying for me than I ever imagined.
I have learned that whenever I feel alone, I am anything but.
I have learned that, sometimes, when someone has an extreme reaction to something that is said or written or done, it is often more about them than it is about you.
I have learned to care less – even less than I already do – about what people have to say about me or what they think of me. I have learned not to compare myself or my life journey to that of others. A whole lot of pressure is released by thinking this way. 2016 will be a year of excision, where I trim the fat of random acquaintances, where I stop keeping up appearances, where I stop acting like I like everyone when I honestly do not, when I say no and am secure in my “nos,” when I put up with less foolishness and demand more respect, when I set and respect my boundaries and I let myself be – no matter how that might manifest or what it will look like or the shape that it will take. I no longer have patience for foolishness and pretenses, going to places I don’t want to go or doing things I don’t want to do, constantly chiding myself for not being extroverted, or introverted, or career-focused, or kind, or gentle or nice or (fill in the blank) enough. If I want to Netflix and chill, or, in my case, PVR and chill, that’s what I will do.
I have learned that some men really truly are dogs. Thankfully the great majority of them aren’t. I think.
I have learned not to take sleep for granted.
I have learned that Black lives don’t matter, especially to a number of police forces. I have learned that the ordination of women by the Holy Spirit doesn’t matter much either. I have learned that entering the legal profession can sometimes come at a very high, arguably nonredeemable cost.
I have learned that when you get tired and you let go and you stop trying, you won’t actually fall into a bottomless pit or an endless abyss and end up homeless and obese. I have learned that God will actually catch you. When life demands more of you than you can give, that’s okay. That’s enough. You are doing enough. When you feel like you cannot face your life or even the day ahead of you, I have learned that God trots along side you. That there are small mercies waiting for you. Sometimes even pleasant surprises. It’s important to just give the day a chance.
Friends would sometimes text me and say, “God’s got you,” and I’d think, “Does He really?” Sometimes I felt like saying “God who?” But I now know that when things slip out of my hands they slip into His. That when my grasp eases on account of fatigue He is still holding on. That even when I feel lost, I am still being led.
I have learned that God will take care of me. I’ll say it again — God will take care of me. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know if I’ll get hired back. I don’t know if I’ll get married or have kids. I don’t know if I should buy a house or rent for the next long while. I don’t know how these student loans will get paid. I don’t know if I should be vegan, or gluten-free or just eat air. I don’t know who will be at my death bed. I don’t know. But I do know that God will take care of me.
On January 1, 2015, I posted on Facebook:
“In Their Eyes Where Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston writes, ‘There are years that ask questions and years that answer.’ I pray that 2015 is a year that answers all of the questions we may have been asking.
It is my hope that God will do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in all of us.
I expect great things this year. I declare that this year will be a year of abundance. The best is yet to come.
Happy New Year!”
*shakes head slowly* Oh naive, overly enthusiastic Simone. This year was anything but.
This year has not answered very many questions unfortunately. Perhaps, in retrospect, it will have. But as of the present moment, I am still left with more question marks than exclamation points.
One consolation I derive from 2015 is that if freak, out of the blue, come from behind bad events can happen to me, so too can freak, out of the blue, come from behind good events.
I will admit that I stare into 2016 and I am not exactly excited about it. But I am at peace (or maybe that’s just resignation?)
With these lessons and the experiences of the past year, admittedly I enter 2016 with a little less enthusiasm. A little less optimism. A little less naiveté. A little more subdued. A little more cautious. A little more resigned. A little more reserved with a little more acquiescence.
This year I will take a different approach and let my life be what it is. I am content to let my life just be, and let it take whatever form or shape it wants to take. Whether conventional or unconventional. Whether orthodox or not. Whether expected or unexpected. He’ll lead through it all.
I have no plans for my life. I did at one point, back in my younger, more ambitious, goal-oriented days. But now I don’t see the sense in making plans, especially if God has already got one and seems intent on letting it come to pass. Nowadays, my prayer is, “Whatever you want to do in my life, just help me not to be bitter. And Lord, help me get with Your program.”
But I also enter 2016 with (just an incy wincy) more faith, and a bit of reckless abandon to the plan God has for me, because He has already shown me that He exists and He can be trusted. Again. Even in 2016.