A New Year: Looking Back & Looking Ahead

Jan 1, 2022

At the end of 2020, hopeful optimism hung in the air. The calendar’s turnover was like an offer of respite for the weary; a long, deep exhale; an accomplished sense of relief I imagine most marathon runners feel as they collapse over the finish line.

But 2021 proved the long race, or slow crawl rather, had only just begun.

Because loss is not bothered by our calendars or our schedules, our goal-setting or our resolutions. Loss looms in the corners of our every day, framed and hung on the walls — as memories — to remind us where our feet have wandered and where they will no longer go.

As I reflect on this past year, I also mourn: expectations unmet and promises unkept.

Today, there is no grand revelation. There are simply dwindled dreams and tear-stained cheeks of fatigue.

Yesterday, on my last flight of the year, I looked out the window to this.

Just as the rain does not ask us permission to fall, neither does sorrow approach with such caution. It comes in waves, abruptly and unexpectedly, casting shadows where the light flickers as if to notion grief is never too far from joy’s presence.

In time, this season too shall pass. It will find its own home amongst the frames on the walls and our great grandchildren will ask us what it was like to see these days.

But for now, right here, there is sadness. And that is okay. Because the clouds will clear and the rain will dry and the sun will shine again.

And there will be a story of how hope and loss collided, where beauty still existed in the pain.


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A Haitian child blows bubbles and plays with her friends in Port-au-Prince, Haiti