2018 was a marvelous year in many ways. I am thankful for the people who came into my life… and for those who left it. I am thankful for the struggles and triumphs that help shape my year into one of incredible personal growth and great joy. I began the year with some ambitious goals. I faced down my greatest fears and triumphed over adversity. I learned to set personal boundaries and not fight to hold on to someone who wants to walk away. I learned how to heal myself without holding on to the shame others thought I should carry. I reconnected with some old friends who continue to inspire me to be better than I am because they deserve the very best in life. I met some incredible new friends whose character rose above the difficult situations they were facing and inspire me to never give up no matter what life throws at you.
I am extremely grateful for the many teachers who helped me grow and become a woman at peace in my own soul with a clarified vision of my place in the universe. I extend my heartfelt thanks to those of you who genuinely shared yourself with me and allowed me to share myself authentically with you. Even though we may have disagreed on the numerous hot topics that swirled around us I cherished the opportunity to discuss them with you. The mutual respect and kindness that engulfed our conversations was refreshing and allowed us the opportunity to actually understand each other a little better. Even if we did not agree with one another’s perspective it was beneficial to us both to pause and trade our tinted glasses for a moment to understand the perspective of another human being.
I thank those of you who found the courage to share your stories with me. The bravery needed to share our weaknesses, pain, and fears created a safe haven to exchange ideas and it forged a bond I deeply cherish.
I also wish to thank those who touched my heart before they departed this earthly realm. The love we shared still burns brightly in my heart and it inspires me to bravely and boldly live my life while I still have breath in my lungs. Your faith in me even when I was lost in the wilderness of my life will always be remembered. You will remain in my heart as long as it beats within my chest.
Others were around for just a season or a reason but deserve to be thanked too. When they left, I mourned the loss of what I thought was a treasured relationship. Their exit helped me see that they did not actually treasure our relationship in the way I thought they did. I have mourned many deaths in my lifetime but none so great as the death of a treasured friendship. Friendships die when the safe place to talk through any difficulty that arises disappears. It dies when one or both people lose sight of the inherent value intrinsic in each of us. It dies whenever we close our eyes to the beauty contained in each other's soul. The thick smoke in the air from burnt bridges can be blinding. Eventually the smoke will clear and our eyes will be cleansed by our tears. Then we will discover if all has indeed been lost or if something valuable still remains. Perhaps a tender sprout will emerge from the ashes. To those who stayed to rebuild the bridge of understanding and nurture the flower of friendship that still grows I am honored to be your friend.
Most misunderstandings in life can easily be corrected, understood, and forgiven when both people are genuinely invested in building a loving relationship. I am blessed to have relationships that have been shaken but not broken. We are mindful to demolish any wall that we see forming between us as soon as the first bricks are laid.
In other relationships each cruel word becomes one more brick in the proverbial wall. Regardless of what caused the first brick to be laid more bricks get piled up over time. After a while fun cheerful friendly banter is replaced with a politeness that slowly divides you from one another. It withers away at your friendship and blinds you to what you once cherished. No one can convince another soul to see the beauty within you or make them feel a deep-seated urge to rectify what is wrong in your relationship. Close bonds should never be discarded haphazardly but some bonds need to be broken.
Finally, I wish to thank those who will never actually read this but made a profound contribution to my growth nonetheless. They may have lost their seat at the table I hold in my heart but their presence was still valuable for the tremendous lessons I learned. The gift you gave me hidden in the intense conflict forced me to make a choice. At first the choice seemed impossible, but with time, the choice I needed to make became clear. The choices we make in our life define our values and I sincerely hope you are as happy with your choices as I am with mine.
I believe in the definition of love that states love never ends. Therefore, if I ever said "I love you" rest assured I always will keep you in my prayers and hope you have a wonderful happy life that outshines the most magnificent dreams you ever shared with me. I will always treasure the many joyous chats we had when our hearts were open and free to frolic in the sunshine or we gently whispered on a starry night. I will always we willing to sincerely help you if ever I have the opportunity to do so in a genuine way because of that love. It is hard to let go of what I thought we had but I accept that it is out of my hands to repair. The experience, although painful, helped me to realize that although I will close the door of my soul to you because you were disgusted by what you thought you saw I will gladly open it for the new friendships that I am blessed to find because living an authentic life is something I have fought for through the darkness from which I have emerged.
So, regardless of the role each person who has crossed my path has played, I thank each one for helping me become a woman who is brave enough to speak her heart, courageous enough to share it, and strong enough to heal it. I love you all now and forever.