A couple of days ago we welcomed the start of another year: 2017. My boyfriend and I attended a packed Mass, and we thanked God for gracing the world with another 365 days filled with new chances, new risks and new joy. In the homily our priest gave, he challenged us to reflect on the light and dark parts of the year. In his words, the light moments were times where we felt joyous, excited, in awe or blissful. The dark moments were the tougher times when we experienced heartache, sadness, hatred, jealousy or anxiety. In the bulk of his homily, he listed off his greatest joys and heartaches of 2016, but the most important thing he did was include the link between light and dark. He said there is always a little light within the dark moments. Kind of like when people say, “Everything happens for a reason” and “Something good will come out of this.”
As I was listening to this homily, I began to slowly think back on all the grand moments of 2016. What happened to me? What did I do? How did I change? Where did I stumble and where did I soar? I quickly created a short bullet list. Good moments: college graduation, new boyfriend, cool summer internship and a 23rd birthday celebration. Bad moments: my Oma’s two strokes and several hospitalizations, frustrating job hunt/bad interviews and moving back home. Each good moment brought a smile to my face, while each bad moment caused me to cringe. Then I thought about what Father had just said… “Within every dark moment, there is light.” When these three events happened, they all SUCKED! When my Oma suffered a stroke, I thought God was punishing our family. When I moved back to Overland Park and had to live in the basement, I thought I was being pulled away from my new boyfriend and friends. When I had some bad job interviews, I thought I wasn’t smart enough or creative enough to be hired. I doubted God, and I doubted myself.
However, it always takes a certain amount of time after a dark moment occurs to reflect on it and then find the light within it. I see now that my Oma was given those strokes to force my family to learn the value of patience, understanding and courage. Living in Overland Park again allowed me to work harder to maintain my friendships and relationship, and it quickly revealed who truly cared about me in the first place. Job hunting provided a cold slap of reality and left my cheek red and raw. Since the application and interview process began, my pride and self-esteem have been knocked down a peg or two because I’m starting over at the bottom of the totem pole whether I like it or not. Going into 2017, I feel a sense of humility, and I hope that humility brings new change and happiness into my life. I want another year where the good moments outnumber the bad, and hopefully 2017 is that year.