‘2017. We made it.’
This is exactly what I heard a young woman almost breathe with a voice of relief as we started our trek back to our car after Kalamazoo’s annual New Year’s Fest.
Her words (and her delivery) struck me immediately. We were in the midst of at least a million (or a couple thousand, whatever) people that night and it hit me in such a profound way because the very place we’d chosen to ring in the new year was the same place that had experienced such devastatingly personal tragedy in the (now) year prior.
And I smiled with the same sense of relief because I was so proud of the community I’ve become a part of over the past eighteen (eek) years because sure enough, we did make it. The ball drop and fireworks made it super duper official.
And I also recalled the night before when bittersweet was the only appropriate word to describe Emily Smith’s wedding. Emily so bravely carried her father’s ashes down the aisle and could only sit and watch with the rest of us as what would have been her ‘daddy/daughter dance’ became a photo montage of her dad beaming as he, clearly, always did at her.
As with all of those sweet photos, 2016 is now a point in time. It was a year that for some, like the Cubs for instance, will forever be cause for celebration. I read one friend’s Instagram wrap-up of the year and was like, ‘oh, good stuff happened?’ And for others, it was the worst year that ever was. And that’s apart from the number of amazing, well-known human beings like gone too soon. I think of the story of beautiful country singer Joey Feek and my eyes well up every time. Nor will I even mention certain events like the insanity of one in particular that rhymes with the word ‘shcmelection’. It would backfire bigly.
So, whichever camp you find yourself in, I hope that 2017 provides you with the opportunity to choose how to move forward and that you use the events of 2016 to shape you into something better; to remind you that although the world can feel so dark at times, that light will surely find a way to enter in; and that, no matter how impossible your wildest dreams might seem, that if the Cubs can win the World Series, you are basically capable of anything.
Here’s to the new. Cheers.