The Worst Year of My Life: A Reflection//

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language,

And next year’s words wait another voice,

And to make an end is to make a new beginning.”

-T.S. Eliot

Two thousand & fourteen, my friends, was my bad year.

Many life changing events happened, most of which shook me to my core and challenged my beliefs (and my sanity). 2014 demanded to know where my faith with God was at, it demanded me to recognize my own faults, weaknesses, and shortcomings. 2014 dragged me to the depths of hell kicking and screaming. It threw me to the lowest of rock bottoms and despairs. I was forced to come to terms with my own fragility: “Where is your God now?” 2014 would ask, and for a while I didn’t have a clue. Prayers went from heartfelt conversations to desperate shouts into the void. I felt as if I were only talking to the stars, who have already been dead for billions of years so it’s not as if they could hear me anyway. Whenever I found the strength to stand back up again, it seemed like another catastrophic event would shove me back into the depths of loneliness and confusion. My life was falling apart, and Laura disappeared. I checked out on myself because I couldn’t help but think that God had checked out on me. Was I a mistake? A disappointment? A cosmic joke?

Flipping through the pages of my beaten down leather journal has been difficult. There is so much pain within the pages, so many questions that no one can answer. Inside there are little treasures that I decided to hide away…movie tickets, tickets from baseball games (including the one where I got to see Derek Jeter play his last game at Angel’s Stadium!), I card I received from my best friend’s mom after my baptism, the ticket from my first hockey game, my 21 and under bracelet from the time I went two stepping at a country bar (one of the best nights of my life), hospital bracelets, LACMA entry tickets, Getty Museum tickets, concert tickets, Credo House punch cards…I wanted to insert small bits of light into the darkness to remind myself that my thirst for adventures and experiences were inextinguishable. One of the most painful entries I read was a very small excerpt from Job I had scribbled down on the page:

“Truly the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but still trouble comes.” | Job 2:25-26

I found a sort of relief that I could identify with a biblical figure. It reassured me that the human race was no stranger to sorrow. My problem, however, was that I identified with Job’s pain rather than his character. How could I forget that I am faithful like Job, that there is a fire within me that propels me to move ever forward towards the Creator of the universe? I am not my pain, and God was not the source of it. As I cried out to Him, I heard what I perceived as silence and indifference. It wasn’t until I finally stood up on my own, broken promises and broken situations scattered at my feet, my knuckles bruised from fighting circumstances I had no power to fix, my eyes tired and sullen, that I could truly understand His words in the silent darkness of my nightly prayers.

“Daughter,” he was saying. “Perseverance. Always have hope. Who are you, truly? Out of dust comes new life.”

I discovered wonderful strengths within my self that I didn’t even know I had. It took me losing myself and questioning my purpose to truly understood who I was and who I want to continually strive to be. Besides, sadness doesn’t look good on me. I love to smile. I love to laugh. I love to entertain. I want to make others feel that joy.

2014 beat me down, but it gave me new eyes and an even bigger heart. 2014 wasn’t totally unkind: I got to take a trip of a lifetime with 3 of the most important people to me, and those amazing memories keep me going and keep me grateful.

Thank you to all those who have stuck with me through it all and held my hand when I needed it the most.

I wasn’t supposed to make it through the year, but I did. Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.

Yours, always,

Laura

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