I received the text at 10:34PM on December 31st, New Year’s Eve….
The words were simple enough. No harm was intended, right?
“I will pray that 2019 will offer you peace, clarity and success!”
Boom. Here we were a little under an hour and a half away from ushering in a New Year. Who would overthink such a simplistic gesture (uh, me hello). I am sure that it was meant with all sincerity of heart and with good intention. But the truth is, I was offended. Each word hit me like a ton of bricks, and I took each word to heart. Mind you, this text came within the same hour that I decided (and communicated to my ex) that we needed to terminate all conversation…period. If I wanted my 2019 to look nothing like my 2018, then I had to operate differently and let go of those things that were no longer serving me.
A little history: My ex and I had joint custody of our fur baby, which meant we’d chat infrequently when it was time to parenting duties. It was all innocent - idle conversation, some small talk about our families, but it was all too familiar. And let’s be honest, it just wasn’t healthy for either one of us. Deeper history: My ex and I have known each other for more than two decades.....a heck of a long time. But due to my newest revelation, I had decided that it was time for one of us to be responsible for the dog full-time. Due to my work travels, it was a no brainer, he would keep the dog. I had deduced that due to my work/travel schedule, it was best that he kept her. Deep Deep: We purchased our dog at a time when our marriage was in shambles. In a way, and at that time, taking care of a new puppy kept us distracted from further draining ourselves and pouring more energy into our failing marriage. We often would joke (but not really) that Coco was our personal and collective life saver.
Everyone who knows me knows about my CoCo. Either they have been to my home and have encountered her joy, excitement and twirly dances, or they’ve overheard her yapping in the background while I attempted to chat on the phone. Either way, CoCo has been a part of my life for almost 7 years. Let me repeat that: 7 years. For me, giving her to my ex full-time meant that I would never see her again, and the totality of it was crushing my heart. Some could say that CoCo represented the child we never had. In fact, my mom, who cannot stand dogs, actually considered CoCo to be part of the family; she would often ask how her fur-grand-dog was doing (is that a word)? So, my heart was still raw when I read my first New Year’s Eve text.
Who doesn’t want peace in their life? Or clarity? Or success? Ha…..Everyone! So why was I allowing these words to get to me in a negative way? After digging deep and thinking for a few minutes, I realized why… I felt that the person was really saying… “I pray you find the peace you need to get your life together and find some direction so you aren’t stagnant in 2019”. I felt like this text just read my life for fifth! Because honestly…it was the truth. 2018 was a blur. I recall highlights, but no milestones. I recall highs and lows, but nothing that was significantly remarkable. I was so focused on trying to fix everyone and every thing around me, that I forgot to take care of the most important person - me. I didn’t smash the goals I had set for myself. I had health challenges that I fought in silence, and mostly alone, all while trying to juggle grad school, late study night sessions, research papers, and little sleep. I was stressed and unhappy. I was feeling undervalued professionally. The truth is, I took these words to heart because they were true. But reading those words forced me to slow down, hell, it forced me to STOP and take inventory of my entire life within the span of a few seconds. Conclusion: I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to get to the place that I wanted to be.
John 10:10 is a great reminder and a verse that I reference quite often:
- The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.
I know that living a more than abundant life is absolutely available because God said it, and I trust and believe the Word of God with my whole heart. Bu,t I also understand that you have to let go of the old to welcome in the new. For me, that meant letting go of all the conveniences and comforts of my old life. So when I received that text I already felt naked, at a loss and vulnerable. Plus, I was sitting at home, sick and alone ringing in the New Year, sulking. When I tell you I had plans for NYE…I had plans! I had purchased this amazing two piece sequin dress, an appointment to get my makeup done and planned on dancing and toasting the night away....did I mention a girl had plans!! Instead, I am at home coughing, in my PJ’s with a sore throat living vicariously through friends and strangers courtesy of social media.
But maybe this is exactly where I am supposed to be and I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Being still. At home. Getting my thoughts and entire life together. Alone. I always wonder if God sometimes looks down at His children and wishes that we would sit down, be still and get it together! And you know what, that is what I am doing. I am taking the time to be honest with myself on my fails and wins for 2018. I am taking the time to be still and purge my life, phone list and heart off all those things that have held me ransom in 2018, at my free will. I am taking the time to really think about and envision what peace looks like for myself? I am taking the time to truly ask, what do I want personally and professionally in 2019? I am taking the time to really leave 2018 and all of its extra-ness, in the past and not bring it into the New Year. I am actually doing the “doing” this time. It feels different, slightly uncomfortable, but if I want a different outcome, I have to have a different output. So….Cheers to 2019 and the many adventures that it shall bring. I promise to actively and consciously live my life and contribute to all of its greatness.