2016 hasn’t exactly been a banner year for well, anyone. To put it nicely, this past year was one hot mess. If 2016 had a theme song, I’m pretty sure it would be Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball.”
Just 10 days into the year and the iconic David Bowie died. Then just 8 days later Glen Frey founding member of the Eagles died, then Prince, Muhammad Ali, Harry Potter star Alan Rickman, actor Gene Wilder, the beloved Dad from Growing Pains Alan Thicke, just the other day pop superstar George Michael, Carrie Fisher and only 24 hours later Carrier Fisher’s beautiful mother Debbie Reynolds. There were others, and each celebrity death left us throwing a collective fist in the air chanting, “Not another!!!! “ The theme for 2016 quickly became the death of larger than life stars. The music industry seemed to take the hardest hit. Some icons were taken too soon, some died from old age. Either way it sent a shockwave throughout the world. Many of us felt as if a part of our youth left with these beloved celebrities.
2016 was constantly blindsiding us with an endless loop of shocking and devastating news.
As of losing our beloved celebrities wasn’t difficult enough we had a Presidential election which was nothing short of a circus. Politicians and businessmen behaving badly for the entire world to see. The only good thing that came out of this election for both sides were some pretty funny Saturday Night Live skits.
Let’s not forget Hambre the gorilla that was shot and killed after a child fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. For reasons only the internet can explain this inspired a series of memes that quickly became the #1 googled meme of 2016.
The internet then kicked off December wishing this horrible, no good year away with even more memes. Good riddance, now let’s fast forward to 2017!
I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that 2016 has been less than kind to me. January came into my life like a wrecking ball. Just two days into the New Year and a young friend was taken too soon. 17 days into the New Year and I found myself holding my father’s hand as I watched him take his last breath. My life forever changed on January 17th and my faith was tested throughout the year. In case you’re wondering death really does bring out those crazy relatives, I now refer to them as minor distractions in our journey. To book end this year, my better half was rushed to New York City for emergency spine surgery last week. Once again my faith was tested, and I found myself thinking, “Why me?”
I’m pretty sure I spent the majority of 2016 clutching a box of tissues in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. As December approached I tossed the wine glass and started drinking straight from the bottle. Okay, let’s admit it together. 2016 was horrible! With each untimely death, disappointment and tragedy many of us have uttered these words throughout the past year, “2016 really sucks.”
But despite all of the above, I’m amazed by people who are so dissatisfied with this past year, that they are eagerly wishing it away. It’s as we have never had anything positive ever happen. Chanting “2016 sucks” is an insult to every single human being who took their last breath, and anyone endured, and continues to endure a difficult journey.
2016 was test of faith for many, myself included. With each heartbreak and disappointment, our faith was tested. We became distracted and started overlooking our blessings and everyday miracles. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to throwing my hands up in the air many times this past year feeling disheartened. But as I reflect on 2016 and my own heartbreak, I realize that this past year has opened my mind’s eye and heart. Even during my darkest days I was surrounded by miracles. The friend who checks in on you after the funeral, the family member who hugs you and tells you, “It’s going to be okay, we got this.” The friend who believes in you when all you can see is darkness. The friends and family who call and text during that first holiday after a significant loss. The friend who tried that new recipe and made extra just for you. The friend who is always there, no matter what.
Each of those individuals are every day miracles in our lives.
This past year has taught me that regardless how difficult things get we are all blessed beyond measure. If we practice gratitude, live in the moment, seek the beauty, treasure relationships, help when needed, be a light for others, pray, cherish our blessings, and make the most of every opportunity and experience, even a terrible, horrible, no good very bad year won’t distract us.
Rather than wish 2016 away let’s look at our everyday miracles. If you suffered the loss of a person of significance, let’s look at the spectacular legacy they left behind. This past year has taught me to stay faithful to God in good times and bad, because God is faithful to each of us always…we just have to look. I am so grateful for friends and family who rallied around my family during the horrific loss of my father, and continue to shower us with kindness and love.
My wish for everyone reading this is for 2017 to deliver endless opportunities to love, grow, heal and overcome.
Cheers to 2017!
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