It is that time of year again, one of wonder, magic and faith. For me it has been a trying year, one where I found myself crying as much as I was laughing and doubting myself much more than I should have. Through it all there were lessons and gifts just waiting for me to be ready to open them, to learn from and to remind me that, against all odds, I was loved, supported and cared for more than I could have ever guessed.
The three gifts I have been given this year as a woman have been:
The old saying that “it’s darkest before the dawn” came to mean something to me again this year. During my infertile years it was a phrase I kept close to remind myself that dark times never last and that light is found even in the darkest corners. It’s called HOPE and it has saved me from myself many times. This year, I was blinded and taken in by things that my head might have second guessed, but my heart – open and accepting – never doubted for a second. I was hurt, badly, and made to believe that I was unlovable. There is a saying that I had forgotten, one made famous by two women I adore, Oprah and Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I wish I had, I wish that I could go back and spare myself the heartache. But thankfully within the hurt is the healing – the clarity of seeing things and people for who they really are and knowing deep down that you are clear about who you really are.
I never really considered myself a writer until this year. Something about the words that were flowing out of me this year changed me. I found myself scribbling on napkins, using the memo app on my phone to jot down a word or phrase that I wanted to use and listening so much more to life around me. Sometimes it took me away from my family or my work, because I was lost to the characters and storylines that kept tapping away at my subconscious, but even when I was knee deep in Kleenex and feeling so badly about myself the one thing that never stopped was my desire to purge all those feelings with words. It’s a gift I had taken for granted all these years. I am not the best scribe or the most influential weaver of words, but when I call myself a writer my heart is content, as if I have found a place for it in this world.
I do better in a group, always have. I love to be around other like-minded people and I adore the community that the women in my life have offered me. This year, Listen to your Mother, Bloggy Boot Camp, and BlogHer allowed me to meet the women of my VILLAGE beyond the screen. To hug, laugh and share tears with the ladies who fill my life with so much joy just by sharing their lives with me through their words. I felt humbled and honored to be part of these groups, to be accepted for who I was.
And in my life off-screen, the women of my world picked me up when my heart was bruised and battered, they rallied to my side and whispered their love and care into my ears. They never left my side; they never let me doubt myself.
I have been blogging for close to eight years now and I can say, without a doubt, that it has taken a village to raise me, and I am so thankful to the women I now call friends for that constant encouragement. My community is the best gift I have ever been given.
These are the gifts I have been given with both hands this year. I am so grateful for the chance to hold them in my hands and admire the ribbon, paper and love they were wrapped in, then open them to reveal the lessons they held.
I have met so many amazing, phenomenal women this year who have changed my perspective and enriched my life. You (here reading this) are probably one of them and I want you to know that I am thankful, every single day, for the gift of you.
How about you, what gifts have you been given this year?
Hoping your holidays are merry and bright!