I always loved back-to-school time.
It wasn't because I couldn't wait to see my friends after the social exile that made up my summer, it wasn't even for the new school clothes. It wasn't for new teachers, it wasn't for new learning.
It was for a new binder. And pens that had never been used. And brand-new pencils, with an attached eraser that erased and a fresh point on the other end. And as I got older, a fresh homework planner.
Oh, I loved homework planners.
I didn't often use said planners once...oh, November hit the calendar. But I adored a whole book with blank days, just waiting to be filled.
Unlimited potential, waiting to be discovered.
We have recently celebrated a New Year. If I am to write honestly I must admit I despised 2010. The past twelve months have been full of sadness and heartbreak for me and my loved ones. There has been great pain, financial burdens, and wrestling of monsters among me and mine. Within the circle of those dear to me, I have walked through drug addiction. Death. Depression. Medication. Abuse. Court systems. Restraining orders. Self-harm. Suicidal thoughts. Financial ruin. The loss of dreams. The loss of love. The loss of peace.
And yet, there is hope.
2011 is a new planner, with blank pages. And before I throw 2010 away with the sour milk rotting in my refrigerator, I thought a moment should be spent on the tragedy that was this last year, to glean any positives before I rejoice while looking ahead.
*This year, I became closer to my daughter than any year before. At a tender 16 years, she of course doesn't tell me everything. But she tells me a lot. And I tell her a lot. And we laugh at ridiculous things, and sometimes we cry. And although she has her own struggles and burdens, I am so very proud of her. She will go far in this life, in spite of her mama. I love her so much.
*This year, I learned I am very good at a lot of things. And not so good at some things too. It doesn't make me clutch at my chest anymore, at the ripe old age of 35, to admit that there are things that are not my strengths. I am wonderful with people...I am not so good at business. I will sacrifice business and profit when a relationship will be affected.
*This year, I learned I can only change me. I thought I knew this, after years of sitting on a therapist's couch. Apparently, although I was not trying to change or control people, I was trying to change and control my environment. My surroundings. Which, in case you didn't know, is the space within which other people reside. Whoops.
*This year, I felt God's love for me in a way I had never before experienced. I saw His hand moving in my insignificant life. I prayed more than I ever have. I grabbed on to Bible verses as a drowning person grabs on to a life raft.
That last one...well, to me, it makes 2010 worthwhile after all.
I'm closing the book on that tear-stained year, and looking forward to my fresh, clean, brand-new calendar for 2011. I have big expectations of these coming days!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Happy New Year!