Bless and Release: A Tribute to 2016

2016.  A lot of people have a lot to say about it.  Along with the general population, I was glad to bid it farewell, but its impression upon my and my loved ones’ lives will always remain.

2016 was the year that took my grandmother and my uncle’s life and a big chunk of my father’s heart.  It provided the parents of two of my close friends with cancer and gave me a run for my money with my own illness.  It took a friendship and gave many new doctors.  It was a rough year.

2016 opened my son’s eyes to the joy of running as a part of a team and took him to the Junior Olympics.  It woke up a new passion in my daughter for an unlikely sport and carried her through a LaCrosse winning streak which ended with a big win in a local tournament.  It brought a love for ballet to my wild little Mowgli child and a fantastic first semester to the youngest who entered Kindergarten.  It was an amazing year.

2016 brought a drought that spread like a disease through the southeast – subsequently providing my children with the ability to spend every day of the Fall using the outdoors as a second living room.  Our garden withered, but their spirits soared as they swung from trees and perfected wheelies on their beat up bikes.  It was a challenging, but happy year.

2016 brought an emotional battle that I had been fighting for many, many years to an abrupt head.  It forced me to look into the eye of my own personal Sauron and walk the plank of fire to release the bitterness that had for years held my heart and soul captive.  The journey was excruciatingly painful, opening old and new wounds alike, but in the end it made me a stronger, more honest and free person.  2016 was a healing year.

2016 brought tornado watches that fizzled out and 5 inch snow projections that manifested as an inch of ice.  Snowmen weren’t possible, but boogie boards and tupperware containers provided hours of fun down slick hills and iced over trails.  Parents lamented the cancelled school days, while the children rejoiced in spending time with friends, neighbors and cousins.  It was a fair weather friend of a year.

2016 brought an election that rocked our country and tore relationships apart.  It exposed the sides of people we suspected, but had never seen and brought about many fears – some valid, some scripted.  It was a year of attack and insults and demands of tolerance from those least tolerant.  It was painful for many and for many a welcome relief.  It brought hope to the surface for a world of people and crushed the expectations for a planet of others.  It was a trying year.

2016 was full of moments that wove together an entire year of our lives that will forever be stitched into the fabric of who we are.  We can choose to mull over the negative or we can reach through the muck for the positive and use it to boost us through the darknesses we’ve faced and into the light.  I’d like to think that I learned too valuable of a lesson last year to drag the weight of negativity into this newly minted, fresh new year.  My motto for 2017 comes from a hashtag I recently saw on a friend’s Facebook post – Bless and release.  Be thankful for the good, let go of the bad.  2016 is a year of the past.  2017 is the here and now.  Let’s go live it.

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