Welcome to my newsletter! This is my fifth edition and I continue to be encouraged by the growing audience and great feedback! I look forward to sharing this space with you monthly, as we move towards the release of my debut memoir, The Other Side of Yet.
It is the end of another year. We are rolling through the annual blur of Halloween to Thanksgiving to all the various December holidays we celebrate in different religions. It is always a time to both reflect back and look forward. Behind us are all the things we experienced in 2021, and ahead of us (some would argue) is a clean slate.
I would disagree. You can NOT actually start over.
To start over suggests that all your “story” up to this moment is erased. Sure, there are chapters that you would like to forget or at least get an “undo button” to change. However, your collective of pain, promise, possibilities, plans and prayers are what have gotten you to this moment. Every puzzle piece, even the ones with jagged or sharp edges, are part of your total picture.
So, during this very emotionally loaded time of year where we tend to reflect on what we have and what we have lost, know that every single piece belongs to you. Claim it. No, you are not necessarily responsible for what happened TO you; but even the darkest pages of your story have helped you find the light to get you where you are today. Own it.
There is not a scenario where I would not wish Gabrielle was alive and with me today. I see girls who were her peers now age 12 or 13 and realize I do not know the latest songs or trends or fads that other mommies do. I would give up everything to have her back with me on earth…for even one more day. But that is not my story.
My story is that my seven-year-old was senselessly murdered--yet, my story is also that she is honored and remembered in places around the world through the work of Gabrielle’s Wings to help children in underserved communities. My story is that her name is known, and her legacy is growing.
And YET…I cannot start over, but I can start anew. My story now is that I am in love and in a healthy relationship. I will end 2021 married to a man who both leads me to my “after” and sits with me in the pain of my “before.” My hope helped me pivot towards a YET, where I found out that I was more than the pain of my past.
There is nothing in my “before” that I can deny. There are even things from my “before” that are still precious and a part of my life today…like family and friends and memories of my baby.
No, you do not get to start over. As unfair as life has perhaps been to you at times, your past is a part of the pattern of your life’s mosaic. Use your YET to hold on to what you need, let go of what does not serve you, and to start anew with all you hold close in anticipation of all that is still in front of you.
2021 is over, YET your rich story has so many chapters left to tell. I look forward to sharing our stories together.
Merry everything and happy new year.