Sometimes, when a birthday comes, you look back on the last year of your life and you think, “Yikes. Good riddance! Now how can this new year possibly be any worse?”
Other times, you think, “This year was great and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.”
That’s this birthday for me.
This past year saw a lot of “nevers” become “possibles.” It saw a lot of “can’ts” become “dids.” It saw a lot of “somedays” become visible through a rear-view mirror.
Of course, many of these things would not have happened but for family and the best of friends. They know who they are. Many of these things would not have happened but for you, too.
I leave one year and enter the next feeling the most optimistic, the most lucky, yes, the most blessed, than I have felt throughout my adult life.
As of a few hours ago, this message was going to simply be this. A thank you. A note that sometimes things can take a turn for the better. A note that hope can pop in the weirdest places, if you just keep your eyes open for it.
My feelings of optimism, however, are in stark contrast to the news the online world received today regarding the passing of Mr. Trey Pennington. It is hard to lose someone under any circumstances, but when you hear that someone has ended his or her own life, it sharpens the picture in our own lives. What are we missing in other people? What can we do to alter the path that the people we care about are traveling? Can we do anything?
As we approach the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, the word that keeps coming back to me is love. We need to love each other better. And I don’t mean sloppy kisses and bear hugs love. I mean asking how someone is doing even if you don’t feel great yourself. I mean trying to make someone smile even when they have tears running down their cheeks. I mean reaching out and saying “How are ya” to someone you haven’t talked to in awhile. I mean telling people, in whatever means you can, that they make a difference to you.
When given the choice, I err on the side of showing people too much, too often, that I care. A lot of people roll their eyes at me. “Yes, Margie, no need to get mushy.” But why not irritate people with that nonsense rather than leave them wondering if they register on your mind or in your heart?
This will be a very tough week for so many, between coping with the passing of a great man and then on the other end of the week remembering all of those whose lives also ended inexplicably and for reasons we will never understand. What better time to tell everyone you love that you love them? What better time to tell the people who have made a difference for you that you know they did and do.
This week, give yourself a present and that will be the best present for me. Call that friend you’ve been meaning to call. Give that cousin a hug the next time you see her. Go visit your parents or your siblings. Think about the people who construct the texture of your life, and make sure they all know that you care. Write a post about someone who may not know how much they mean to you. Make a phone call. Relish the fact that those people are still around, and treasure them. This week, we all need to remember how lucky we really are. In these dark days, spread a little sunshine.
It can get better. Hang in there.
Image by Crystal Church. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/twitchtoo