End of Year Reflections

There are times when we look back on our life and wonder what happened. I remember, a long time ago. Sitting in front of a mirror and watching myself cry. I hated the way that my face contorted. It was sad and ugly. A painful reminder of this unwavering feeling of loneliness. After hours of this act, I watched the tears dry up. The shape of my face seemed to reform in front of me. I knew, that from that moment on I would never be the same again.

Of course, I had no idea HOW that would happen. I just knew that it would happen. Years later, I find myself pondering that moment. Wondering to myself what was different about me back then? Why was I able to battle my inner demons within just a few hours when today it feels like it takes a lifetime?

These thoughts haunted me. Yet, in the wake of the end of what has been notably the worst the world has seen in a long time, there is a peace within my soul that comforts me. 

It feels like the light has placed a warm blanket over me and offers comfort. A gentle whisper that the darkness hasn't won. There is still hope. It sits there waiting for those of us that are not afraid to sit in front of our mirrors and face our demons. It sits there waiting for us to rise up and decide that today we will be a part of the solution. It is an act of kindness. It is a thoughtful reply. 

It is taking the time to see the beauty that still remains in the world. 2016 has been wrought with a series of challenges that have shaken the world to its core. For many people, there is an uncertainty about the future. Will oil poison our drinking water? Will bombs destroy our homes or take away our family. Will violence become the norm? Will public murder continue to be commonplace? Rebels, pain, police taking blankets from the homeless. There is no shortage of tragedy in 2016 but there are victories.

These victories are so clear to me. They are like the lines on my face after crying. When the tears have fallen away and all that remains is me. I'm laid bare before myself. Forced to confront the person that I am and the person that I want to be. Chasing after the future version of myself brings me a certain comfort. It reminds me that these moments are fleeting and it is what we do in these moments that define our future selves. For me, I live by a basic principle. I smile, even when I don't feel like smiling because someone else might need that smile. The smile isn't for me. It is for you. I do it because I understand that while my forced smile might be painful for me it was just what you needed. I didn't know it but you were crying all night, the world weighed heavy on your shoulder. 

You screamed for help but the sound of your voice was muffled by your fatigue and your tears. My smile, this small simple act of kindness that took so very little from me, made you feel special if even for a moment. In that split second the pain faded. It wasn't much and it didn't last long but it was enough to spark your soul. To recharge you to press on another day. You even broke a smile. It was a small one, I noticed it. What I didn't notice as I went on about my day is that your little smile touched someone else. This person had just been in an argument and even though your smile was small there was something about it that sparked a peace within them. It wasn't much but that person needed it. They pat their child on the head and you didn't know this but the child was having a hard time. His dad left him. That pat on the head made him feel safe if even for a moment. This lit up his spirits and he turned and grabbed his baby sisters hand. 

She smiled because she had been feeling forgotten until he touched her. Her smile was so bright that the person standing behind her who just had finished fixing a flat tire and had the worst start to the day, couldn't help but smiling in return. That person didn't know that the little girl wasn't smiling for his benefit. It didn't matter. Kindness, doesn't have to be a huge display. It can start with a simple forced smile or a real one if you have it in you. 2016 was a time of challenge but it was also a time of change. Not all change is good but not all change is bad either. Change is what you decide that it will be and change starts with you. Have a wonderful end of the year and may 2017 bring you a bounty of good blessings.

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