the first thing i read this year was a post written by allison fallon, called "what no one ever says about new beginnings," and it was maybe the best first thing i could've read.
starting new can be intimidating, she writes, because you have to decide where to begin from an endless selection of possibilities. it's like staring at a blank white page with a blinking curser. it's not that you don't have the words. it's that the words don't feel as deep and as meaningful as you want them to be. none of them feel like the first line, the first sentence. where things settle, of course, is out of your control entirely.
the middle, though, is where the comfort is. it's where you have something tangible to work with, words to move around and ideas to develop. it's messy, but it's productive.
she goes on to write how new beginnings often feel like you're starting over, but the truth is, you have everything that has brought you to this point. the conversations, the struggles, the joy, the people who stayed.
starting something new may very well mean facing a blank white screen, but you're not starting with a clean slate. chances are, things probably feel a little messy.
my new year feels a bit like that. like a sloppy new beginning.
i began twenty fifteen split almost entirely in two.
i liked my life, and i also didn't. there were a number of things i held in my hands, things i had fought for, worked for, put time and effort and heart into. and yet, i couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, why i felt so discontent and stuck.
months passed. i talked about it, prayed about it, spent all my free minutes going around and around in my head, trying to figure out what to fix and how to fix it while also keeping myself in tact in the process.
i held on, tighter and tighter, until one day, on a friday afternoon, i opened my hands and found out what happens when you start pushing around the parts of you that are comfortable.
you realize there are pieces that don't fit anymore. you're forced to make hard choices, and either let things go and risk everything falling apart or keep going and pretend like the problem doesn't exist. you choose to break your own heart, and you keep making that choice, every day. you empty your hands and let them sit that way. you learn how to be still and accept grace, from other people and from yourself. you find out who you are and how to trust in someone bigger than you.
it wasn't easy, but i kept pushing through. and towards the end of the year, i stumbled upon an opportunity to go on an adventure with a group of people (and their kids) and, as it turned out, the whole thing filled me up in all the right ways.
after months and months of what felt like emptying myself out, i realized i would be ending the year feeling full.
on new year's eve, i would later find out (by listening to the podcast), pastor steven spoke about the problem with waving goodbye to the previous year, as if the only accomplishment you have is making it through. that isn't saying much, he points out. anyone can simply make it through.
he referenced joshua 4:3 when he said, "go back and get something out of what you went through that's gonna prepare your faith for where you're going."
go back, dig down, and pick up something you could have died on.
he encourages us not to wave goodbye to twenty fifteen like it's something you're leaving behind, but instead, armed with the things you went back to pick up, wave hello from the other side.
i want twenty sixteen to be a year of being brave in bold new ways.
maybe by the end of this year, i will have found another way to better describe it. but if twenty fifteen was a year of being brave in the letting go of what i needed to be free from, i want twenty sixteen to be a year of being brave in the holding on of what is meant to stay.
i want twenty sixteen to be a year of building up this life, and i know i'm not starting out empty handed.
i'm starting out messy and full and waving hello, from the other side.