Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…

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Embracing the Unexpected

I have heard many talking about 2016, and discussing the turmoil and craziness of the year. From deaths, to the election, to things going on in our personal lives, many of us are just ready for 2016 to move out-of-the-way so that we can have a “fresh start” in 2017. I get it. 2016 has been a lot in so many ways, but it has taught many things as well. In the picture above I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic when I randomly stopped right in front of these trees. If I had not looked up, and was strictly focused on my drive or the frustration of the journey, I would have missed the random beauty of the shock of red right outside of my window. That moment struck me deeply. Why? One, because it was unexpected. Two, because it made me re-evaluate some things in my life. 2016 has been a year of the unexpected, and I have not always gone with the flow. Like many of you, I have fought against what I did not expect. It was not until I began to reverse my typical thought process and embrace what I have not expected that things began to get easier. If nothing else, this year has taught me that life really does happen, and like a mantra I have always said, sometimes you really do have to flow with it. By releasing the pressure and steering into the flow, there is undiscovered beauty in that place. If we never have to deal with the unexpected, how do we know that we can handle it? If we never feel overwhelmed, how do we know that we can bear whatever comes our way? If we never feel lonely or frustrated, how can we understand when someone else comes to us feeling the same way, and expecting us to help them find a way out? If we never feel hurt, how will we know that we can overcome? Some things are unexpected. Some things we would rather not detour to experience, but life happens that way. Swim with the current. Don’t fight it because that usually causes more trouble. Just know that there is a lesson in every battle, and victory at the end of the fight. As 2016 draws to a close, don’t allow the uncertainty of what is to come, to rob you of your excitement of what a new year can bring. Remember, in the unexpected can be a blessing.

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Uncomfortable Reflections

As the year draws to a close, many are looking back over the year and reckoning with the decisions they made throughout the year. Others are celebrating a great year. Still others are standing in limbo because they never quite caught up with the year, and now they are facing another year filled with its own uncertainties and obstacles to overcome. All of this is normal as the end of the year tends to be one of introspection. It definitely is for me. I remember coming in to 2016 “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” as the saying goes. I remember my high hopes and declarations regarding this being the greatest year of my life. 2016 was a year supposedly filled with endless possibilities and unlimited greatness. At least that was my plan. I forgot that my plans have never quite worked out as I have imagined. Now, that is not to say that there were not great moments this year, because there were many of them. I accomplished a lot. I learned many things about myself and others. Somewhere in this year, I recognized myself again, and I realized I like who I have become. I also experienced one of the greatest periods of depression I have ever had. I almost gave up on a lot of things more times than I can count. There was a point where I did not like myself, nor believe in my value. Low moments. High moments. Such is life. With the euphoria of the new year, I forgot that life sometimes happens, and I forgot that sometimes bitter comes with sweet. But at the end of an interesting year, I can say that I have come a long way. Perfection? Not at all. Better? Definitely. Now, I could be fearful about what the new year will bring. Believe me, a part of me wants to be. But I won’t.  I could allow my doubt and frustration to make me believe that my dreams and goals that I did not accomplish this year will never come to pass. But, I would be doing myself a disservice. I could do many things, but one thing I will do is believe that this upcoming year will bring more sweet than bitter, and more finish lines being reached than cramps along the way. So as you approach this new year, don’t refuse to reflect or have resolutions. Acknowledge your truth for the year, and choose how your next year will be. Decide to be purposeful. Decide to be successful. Decide to perform even with opposition and/or lack of support. Choose to be you. Opportunity is waiting on the other side of your uncertainty.