2008 was not my favorite year.
In fact, it was down right awful. I learned a lot this year. Lessons I'm glad I have, but never want to learn again, and certainly do not think of fondly.
I've learned what how infant deaths are handled at the hospital, how much an infant grave and casket cost. Where to go to order a headstone (even thought I have yet to do it. I just can't. It will make everything to final.) I've learned that the cemetery in the spring, summer, and fall is apparently a really great place for people without respect for others to ride their bikes and exercise. I have some idea of how bad emotional pain can really be.
I've learned that it isn't always for the best for two people to stay married to each other, and that sometimes people you love and feel so close to are hiding things and carrying large burdens you might know nothing about. I've learned that physical abuse and infidelity are not the only acceptable reasons for divorce. And I've learned it IS sometimes in the best interest for the children.
I've learned that no matter how perfect some one's life might appear, we all have struggles and challenges. And that if we do not face them and attack them head on, that the challenges will win. We can not let our guard down, even for the briefest time.
I'm still trying to learn that it's okay if people who see me as strong assume that means I don't need help or support. It doesn't mean they don't love me or care about me, it just means they don't understand me.
I've learned that most everyone has secrets, and how good it feels to just let them go and get over them. And that not everyone looks the same on the inside as they do on the outside. Some people let their secrets become ugly, rotting, putrid bits of decay that eat at their insides until those around them can see and smell... and know. It changes them into people they don't necessarily want to be, but that can't let go of the secret, even though they know what it's doing to them.
I've learned life really does go on, and that pain and anger really do diminish with time. I've learned that the Lord really does guide and direct every aspect of our lives, if we will let him. And if you think your not letting Him, but doing it all on your own, you're very much mistaken. Every opportunity we have, every choice we are given, the Lord has given us, and it is our decision to use it to move forward or slip back.
And so, farewell 2008. I won't miss you, but I will remember your lessons for the rest of my life, perhaps even longer.