Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Beauty from Ashes

A recent survey conducted by the Economist revealed that 2 in 3 Americans think 2013 stunk. It's good to know I'm not alone.

While I am a much more emotionally balanced and optimistic person than I once was, that doesn't prevent me from saying this:

2013 has been unequivocally, the worst year of my life.

It began with mysterious health struggles, that still persist. Continued with the pain and shame of cancelling and then resigning from a race I founded and love. Then my niece died. My athletic ability faded away. My body saddled with constant pain. My parents sold our childhood home and moved away. Depression. Anxiety. Serious personal difficulties. And more than my share of emotional pain. And at times - anguish.

So I am not sad to see the door close on 2013. In fact, I can hardly throw it out onto the street fast enough.

Yet, time and circumstance changes all people. So, though I have been staring hard at a few rotten trees this year, I can still see the forest. There is good that comes from pain...balance in the universe. In fact, I am unable to think of one bad thing that has happened in life, that didn't give rise to something good. Maybe not equally as good, because no one said life was a zero sum equation. But good, nonetheless. Christians call that "beauty from ashes".

In the mountains - forest fires, landslides, and avalanches can destroy delicately balanced natural systems. But ecologists are quick to point out that there are hosts of species, unable to survive in old growth land areas. Change in surface environment creates a diverse environment where new species can survive. So, after the devastation, new things will take root that never existed in that place before. Different plants, attracting new wildlife. Creating some of the most rich and beautiful landscapes. Yes, there is destruction, but eventually there is new life.

So while I am excited to say goodnight to this awful year, I anxiously anticipate the new growth that will come. I write this to encourage those who have suffered far worse than myself. Those who have lost the ability to see the forest any longer. Take heart, Americans. The seeds are sown, it won't be long now before they surface.

Godspeed.

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