2017 – Boy, bye.

It is the 31st of December and I wonder how many others, like me, find themselves in front of a screen. The year 2017 has been a year. It has been filled and emptied; full of exclamations and question marks. In February of this year, I think my heart had had its fill. Doing the math, that’s two months into the new year. So, how did I make it the other ten months? This is a question I have been ruminating over.

I want to first start with what would be the hero: she’s cute and is dressed in orange. Her name is Lexapro. My diagnosis of moderate depression in February cemented a lot for me. First, my emotions finally, for once, made sense. Given my diagnosis, I was no longer doing some hustle and shuffle on the inside. My body felt affirmed and found balance again. From there, the months forward felt a little more manageable.

Manageable, not easy.

Given the political climate, I knew that I could not remain in the shadows. I would be found protesting and volunteering and writing and making myself (and others?) feel uncomfortable. The Women’s March in Chicago was a life-changing event in many regards. From volunteering for the event to meeting up with two girlfriends to stand together in solidarity, believing we were on the verge of something new. Who would have thought that this movement would lead to the very moments of exposing Hollywood elites and their sexual assaults and harassments so many months later?

Personally, I let others see why I stayed silent after being sexually assaulted as a child. And how I was no longer willing to hide in the shame of that silence. Our “Me Too” stories took shape as, not flags, but capes. Women, we are braver because of 2017.

Certainly, this year has felt heavy, and I cannot deny that. Given my privilege, I can kick the can that is 2017 to the side with this bravery and courage. However, I acknowledge that many others will still live in the nightmare of federal policies. I want to use this bravery to be more intentional with my time and resources to aid in helping others.

I also feel that 2017 brought various revelations – mostly, though, of self. Purposeful soul digging has been a lot of work. So uncomfortable yet so worth it. I am so expectant of all that awaits ahead from the revelatory spiritual disciplines I have taken up for the last ten months. I look forward to sharing this, too. But not yet.

There is an important and spiritual component to the act remembering. My hope is that all the anger my body held towards moments of this year will be transformed into utter joy as I seek to find peace in a deeper understanding of, as Richard Rohr describes as, “everything belongs.” Because, if everything really does belong, everything has meaning and significance. Right?

In Genesis 50:20, after Joseph’s brothers began apologizing for all the evil they committed against him, Joseph’s response is beautiful. It contains this significance that I speak of. My hope is that you take this with you into 2018; as a reminder that whatever is ahead — it all belongs.

“Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart.”

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