On the last day of the year, most people reflect on the past twelve months. We sift through things that went wrong and vow to change them. We recollect events we’d rather have never experienced. Or perhaps the memories are ones to cherish.
This past year was a rough year, a sad year.
On January 2, 2016, (I don’t remember exactly the context or reason, besides God had ordained it) I decided to spend the weekend at my parents’ house. My dad really wanted to show my mom and me this area on Jack’s Mountain that was full of rhododendrons; so much so that it looked as if a jungle had been picked up and placed on a Pennsylvania mountainside. Here on this hiking trail, marked some of the last and most cherished memories I have of my dad. He made sure mom reminded me to bring my camera along so I could take pictures. Little did I know they would be the last good pictures of him. (One of which we used on his obituary two-and-a-half months later.)
On this mountain hike, in freezing weather, I took a series of pictures that would later signify what would take place in the next few months. Here is the picture:
Last night as I headed to bed, I said goodbye to 2016 with tears streaming down my face. New Year’s Eve causes the traditional mindset of a chapter closed. It symbolizes moving on, starting anew. But I felt I was being forced to leave my dad behind, in 2016. I was being forced to let go (as depicted in the picture above). And I was certainly not ready to do that!
I know I am still young, but I have had rough years in my lifetime. I have turned away from God while shopping around in the windows of the world. I have strayed so far it seemed God had given up on me. I felt hopeless. I even entertained thoughts of ending my own life. (Later I would hear about my dad’s faithful prayers and my parents’ unconditional love for me.) But grief is different, very different. It comes unannounced and threatens to steal even the happiest moments. It is not a result of a foolish act (as in my past), but because you lost someone you love. Grief is not getting burnt after playing with fire, but it leaves it’s sting as a burning hole in your heart. And the sadness does not go away when you start living life as you should. It’s always there – that burning hole.
Every year on the last day, many people vow to start the new year with great change. (Some of us are a sadly reluctant as it seems to imply leaving behind or letting go of someone.)
We vow to do things much different: to stop eating so many sweets (Ha, I do this several times a year!), exercise more, read more books, start a budget, stop a nasty habit, strive to be a better person, have a better attitude or as simple as leaving behind an awful year. No matter what it is, most will abandon the resolution as quickly as it enters the mind. We set impossible goals. And if they are possible, we’re either too lazy to accomplish or we give up at the first sight of failure.
Instead of setting all these exhaustive and potentially impossible resolutions, let me encourage you to set only one goal in this new year; it will change everything else in your life.
Get right with God. Follow Christ with your whole heart.
If you have never made a commitment to God, I strongly encourage you to do so! No one knows their last hour, and tomorrow could be too late. And if you have already done so, then seek Him first, before all else! Even the godliest person has much room to grow.
Please, spend time with God. Open your Bible and fill your mind with God’s Word. And pray earnestly. These two things are the most essential in life.
If we follow Christ, there is rich blessings amidst heartache and burden. Why not find out for yourself in 2017.