It’s that time of year again – time to reflect. An emotional being, I find myself both tormented yet grateful this time of year, as I consider the ways I grew, developed, and achieved as well as the way I may have taken a few steps backward, endured heartbreak, or developed some poor habits. Either way, we men are constantly evolving in maturity.
Looking back, there isn’t much that I would change. I learned a lot, even through the hard times. I fell in love with a girl that’d just moved here and one day things just didn’t work out. I was clingy, she was distant; I was pulling, she was pushing; I (thought I) was ready, she was not; we simply weren’t a match. A friend at the time told me that I probably couldn’t see it then, but I’d eventually be grateful things didn’t work out sooner rather than later and that God had better things in store. Honestly – that friend was right – but I wouldn’t change the experience; it developed me (and probably her) in ways I wouldn’t have matured otherwise. Sometimes, you have to break to be rebuilt. The demolition always comes before the renovation.
And so the long, arduous process of rebuilding began. I spent about a month in agony, flooding social-media with grief like how one would expect a teenager girl to mourn the loss of Justin Bieber. Then I suffered in quiet for a month or so thereafter and eventually the pain subsided, the lessons began to sink in, and a new man emerged. I had some “rebound” experiences, went on a Tinder dating spree, and found myself in situations I probably shouldn’t have been in. But then, I found peace.
In 2015, I struggled yet again with image – wrestling with the weight-scale as it climbed and climbed and then plummeted and then climbed again just in time for Christmas. It’s all about lifestyle choices – I know that – what I eat, what I drink, whether or not I discipline myself enough to have more weight-lifting days and less “hot tub days” at the gym, etc. I think there are some mental blocks and tormenting beliefs about myself deep down that have a lot to do with it, and I’m praying there’s actually some breakthroughs in 2016.
Vocationally, I’ve begun to yearn for mission, for purpose, for something meaningful – to be utilized at my full potential. I’ve begun writing again. And it feels good. So good. I sat down and wrote about a dozen letters to friends and family earlier this week. I regularly send notes of affection and regard for the second girl to ever capture my heart. A friend and brother in Christ and I have decided to become regular pen-pals – consider him Paul and me Timothy – or similar to the relationships C.S. Lewis had with his closer confidants. Words matter. They fuel the fire of the heart. The stoke the Flame.
I need to write more poetry. I’m good at it. It’s artistic and powerful and conveys messages via imagery like no other art-form (in my opinion). But for me, it’s almost a spiritual gift and it has to be inspired. I’ve made it a goal to push into the Heavens more in 2016 and to let my pen pour out more of His messages to the world. If I’m feeling daring enough, perhaps I’ll even enter some Open Mic Nights or Spoken Word Competitions.
In 2015, I struggled to stay close to God. I didn’t think he wanted anything to do with my heartache. And I got frustrated that it felt like He wasn’t there in the quiet. There were days where I just didn’t want to go forward. But somehow, I found the strength to push on. I cried more than I had before in my life; I loved harder than I’d ever allowed myself to; I gave into the whirlwind of romance; I learned; I triumphed; I played a lot of racquetball; I cherished time with friends, though it becomes rarer with age. 2015 was good, but I expect 2016 to be even better.
Here’s to 2015 and the lessons it brought with it.
May 2016 bring you cheer. But more importantly, may your heart awaken.