I have said all too cryptically over the past month and year how hard life has been. And I guess I still have to just stay there in the abstract. But, there have been moments when I wanted to shout it, in all its ugliness, I have wanted to point fingers and hurt others because I am hurt. And one of the hard and sad things I learned is that “hurt people, hurt people.” I have wanted to somehow make things better by making things worse for others hoping somehow it would make me feel better. But over months and weeks and days, a lot of that has started to change. And I have looked back on the year.
I wrote my last post on my little boy, it has been a year, and he has come a long way! And honestly, I think we all have.
So here are ten things I have learned this year…some I have been learning for quite a while, but they have really struck home this year.
1. To remember the good. I heard it on the radio a few months ago. It was this woman talking about when her husband did something that upset her, like coming home from work late, before she reacted she remembered all the good things he had done. She was keeping a record, but of the good things, not the bad, so when it came time to react she stopped and gave grace. I want to keep record of those in my life, to remember the good, to not stop at the mistakes, and to be kind.
2. I have learned that what my mom and all moms always say is true, “If you have nothing nice to say, do not say anything at all.” I rarely have walked away from a conversation wishing I had said more, but frequently walked away wishing I had said so much less. I still sometimes write apologies to those I have said too much to, but am doing it a little less as the year moves on.
3. There is no one way to be a perfect mom. As soon as I have figured it all out, I have to see I do not have anything really figured out and every day is a day to learn something new or try it another way because it just is not working the way I thought it should or it did last time.
4. I have learned that forgiveness is something you might have to wake up and do every. single. day. And sometimes that is discouraging, but it is worth it. And it gets easier with time.
5. I have learned that love is a choice, not every day, but some days, and that joy is a choice, not every day, but some days.
6. I have learned that being angry is okay. It does not mean the world will fall apart. And in a more scientific way, until I actually say I am angry and deal with it and grief, I will never be okay.
7. Nothing is certain. After three job losses that were supposed to be permanent, or I hoped for permanent over the past years. Cancer diagnosis. Moves around the country. And family members that are really sick. I have learned that life is full of uncertainty, and have been reminded that this world is only temporary.
8. I read a book this year, The Scent of Holiness, by Constantina Palmer. I learned a lot from it, but one that has stuck with me in these moments, when I want to hear what is happening, to hear gossip, to hear something that takes my mind off me and focuses on how someone else is hurting, it is SO not helpful. And usually all it causes is more hurt and anger. I am learning to wait in those moments, to just wait.
9. And I learned I need to listen. I learned that I err on the side of busy and getting done instead of listening. It is often in the second try that I figure it out. But there are hearts and little voices worth hearing, so much more than bathrooms that need cleaning, or emails that need checking.
10. I learned what friendship looks like. And unfortunately what it does not look like. But thankfully, there are amazing people in the world who love selflessly and with such compassion. I have been blessed by some of these amazing people who are okay with messy and crying, and who still make me laugh and want the best for me. I want to be like them.
I still have a lot of learning to do and there is a long journey ahead, but I hold onto hope that even in this year, we are being refined and that we will be okay.