It has been an interesting year…looking back on 2011 as it comes to a close, it seems while one might say “business as usual” there are actually some fairly interesting movements.
Typically, I start each new year with an anthem of sorts…and honestly, I can’t remember what this year’s was. I suppose I could go back and look at some of the places I would have recorded it. But frankly, if I can’t remember, that says something about its importance.
Knocking on the door of 2012, I know there are things that have to change. They have to change because I have changed. I am known for a pretty thick skin. It has worn a bit thin. While I am more comfortable in it, I feel through it a bit differently. Situations that I could view or pass through unscathed now move me in ways that are distracting. My eyes well on a regular basis. My heart hurts. I feel sadness. It isn’t that I myself am sad, or my own circumstances cause pain, but the empathy for those around me.
I witnessed a great deal of pain, sickness, hurt, death, and despair this year. I also experienced great joy, love, creation, and happiness. I doubt there were more occurrences – I am simply more susceptible to its effects.
Things that used to seem interesting or even slightly important now seem pivotal and game changing…
Even as I write this, I realize I am not saying all the things I want to say. It is becoming clear that this movement will develop itself…continue to develop itself…as I grow and learn with it.
I know that I am not all that I could be. I also know that it is not because I fail – but because I have so much potential, I have great room for expansion! I know I make mistakes, I realize that I am not perfect. I understand that if I were to run for a public office, it would be interesting. But I also know that I am a fabulous person. I am not scarred by failure and missteps. I am enriched by experience and journeys.
This year I became a runner. It has had a marked effect on me as a person. It has strengthened nearly every aspect of my person, created some beautiful friendships, and has become a core characteristic of who I am. The combination of time alone, exercise to the body, and a great illustration of my personal fortitude have created a deeper understanding of all that I am capable of.
This year I have owned my profession. For the first time I refuse to accept second best in any aspect of my professional life. I have gone back to school. I have forged new relationships. I have clarified roles, positions, expectations. I accept full responsibility for things that are mine. I do not martyr myself for others who refuse to do the same. I appreciate that there will always be critics and people who have nothing better to do than to try to drag down others. They can do that by themselves – I am not playing that game anymore.
This year I have learned that meanness is a major contributor of all things ugly in the world. Its root is fear. Fear makes for dark places. I am learning to place more emphasis on compassion than right, grace than win, comfort than conversion. I have learned that people are defensive, not because they are created that way, but because they are conditioned to proverbial face slaps whenever a weakness or a fault shows through the façade. So we fake. And we puff out our chests and berate others over the one thing we have gotten right so that maybe no one will notice all the other things we have yet to figure out. Because we can’t be weak…we can’t be wrong…we can’t fail…yeah, I am calling bullshit on all of that. A little harsh in the language category? Maybe, but I am thinking I am going to get pretty darn militant about compassion, grace, and comfort.
This year my family is nearing the conclusion of the journey that will bring us fully into the Catholic faith. It has done more to strengthen our resolve as a family and increase our compassion to humanity in general than I can begin to explain to you. Is this an evangelical mission? Not unless you want it to be…otherwise, it is simply me sharing with you another moment in my year. Interesting that I even feel I have to qualify that…something I will need to chew on…at any rate, this journey is becoming more evident in nearly everything I do. I was nervous about that for a minute. I am not so much anymore.
I am excited about 2012. I am looking for wondrous happenings. I am as prepared as one can be for more heartbreak…because I am committed to loving and serving more fully. In that position, heartbreak just happens – I am working on no longer judging that as good or bad…it just is…and hurting for others is proof of the love for others. Compassion moves with people where they are…and sometimes those places are painful.
But I am committed to the rainbows and unicorns. I am committed to smiles and hugs. I am completely sold out to motivational posters and talking in bumper sticker…because, quite frankly, I am thinking that a happy dork is going to be more productive as a human than a hateful suave.
Photo credit to Planet Breathe