“There are only two ways to live life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein.
We are at the end of 2021, and it’s a good time to reflect on the lived experiences and lessons learned. We ask ourselves: What did I learn, what did I improve on, how have I changed, how have I grown, how is my life today compared to the previous year? How many of my goals and resolutions did I accomplish? Every year that ends, we self-reflect and ask ourselves the same questions, and we almost always come to the same conclusions: I accomplished some goals, others I left halfway, and most of them I didn’t even start them. Here, I would like to share what I have reflected on this end of the year, and I hope it will help you in some way to start the new year 2022 with a little more purpose, direction, motivation, and if anything, with just a bit more gratitude.
One year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days can make a big difference in anyone’s life. This year, many people got married, others divorced, others started new love, friendship, and work relationships. Others had children, others bought houses, cars, boats, and many traveled the world. Others got sick, others suffered accidents, and many… many people died.
Regardless of some of our beliefs, it is a fact that, in this second year of the COVID pandemic, many families saw their lives change drastically and painfully. Millions of people lost their health, and it took them months to recover and return to normalcy, thus affecting their families, jobs, and finances. Millions more suffered indescribable pain and ultimately succumbed to death because of the damage this virus caused to their bodies. Wives lost their husbands. Husbands lost their wives. Children lost their parents (many children lost both parents to COVID, which has to be devastating to any family). Parents lost their children. Grandchildren lost grandparents. Siblings lost siblings. We lost friends, colleagues, neighbors, and we can go on and on.
Today, my reflection for you is:
If you were one of the people who had the joy and good fortune of not suffering significant losses during the year 2021, just be grateful. If you are alive, healthy, have a roof over your head, food, a job, and if your relatives are healthy, just be thankful. Think of all those who went through unimaginable pain, loss, and suffering, and try to imagine if that would happen to you. If you can’t even imagine it, then just be grateful. Stop focusing on trivial or less important things right now. You are still alive, you can keep trying to lose weight, look better, find the love of your life, become a millionaire, get the job of your dreams, whatever was your goal or purpose in this year that is ending and you couldn’t achieve it, think, you are still alive, and you can keep fighting for it.
“Be grateful for what you already have as you pursue your goals. If you are not grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.”– Roy T. Bennett, The Light of the Heart
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely. – Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose something else.” Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.
“Instead of worrying about what you can’t control, shift your energy to what you can create.” – Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart.
“How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage each day to be and do what really matters most.” – Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
If, on the other hand, you are one of the people who, like me, suffered the heartbreaking loss of loved ones, the emotional and psychological trauma, the loss of financial support, all things that will likely affect you for the rest of your life. Today I want to tell you this: I understand you, I know what you are going through, be strong, keep going, we will come out the other side, even if you don’t feel that way. Be confident that God is with us at all times, in good times and bad times, even if we do not see it, even if we do not feel it, even if we do not understand it, even if it does not make sense.
“To have faith is to have full assurance of receiving what is expected; it is to be convinced of the reality of things we do not see.”Hebrews 11:1 – Bible God Speaks Today
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore.
“And once the storm has passed, you won’t remember how you did it, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure if the storm is really over. But one thing is for sure. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who went in. That’s what this storm is all about.”
There are times when our faith is tested, when what we didn’t think would ever happen to us happens, which makes us doubt. If there is something I have learned during my life is that having faith does not mean that God will always grant us what we ask for. Instead, it means that we believe that despite whatever happens to us, God is with us to give us strength and help us move forward if we ask him to, and we do our part. We accept with humility the bad things along with the good things that happen to us.
“Let us put all our attention on Jesus, for from him comes our trust, and it is he who makes us trust more and more and better. Jesus endured the shame of dying nailed to a cross because he knew that, after so much suffering, he would be very happy… Think of Jesus’ example. Many sinful people hated him and made him suffer, but he went on. So you must not give up or lose heart”Hebrews 12: 2-3 (NLT).
Roy T. Bennett, The Light of the Heart.
“Keep going. The most difficult moments often lead to the best moments of your life. Keep going. Difficult situations build strong people in the end.”
What I have learned this year is that God is always with us. We have to believe it and declare it in faith. But I also learned that our lives will always be the result of our decisions, our actions, and many times, they will also result from things that have no meaning, no purpose. Simply put, that is life. Some are born, others die, some do well, others do not, some are happy, and others suffer. So, what should we do? We must understand that our faith should not be based on a benefit that we can obtain from God. Many people think, if I am a Christian, I follow Christ, read the bible, I will be saved; if I praise God, he protects me; if I preach his name throughout the world, God grants me all my petitions… and you know what? It is simply not like that. The life God gave us, the free will, the freedom to choose, is much more complicated, and the most important thing is that we have gained our salvation by grace and not by our works.
“You have been saved because you accepted God’s love. None of you earned your salvation, but God gave it to you. Your salvation is not the result of your own efforts. That is why no one can be proud.”Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
We believe in God, love him, and serve him because that’s what we decide. We love him. We long for him because we understand that in this life, in this inexplicable world where many times we have no control, only one gives us meaning to our existence, and that is why we live. Without expecting anything in return.
Now I firmly believe that in some occasions, in certain moments, God intervenes in our favor, but that depends on his will, and the only thing we can do is to depend on him, on his grace and mercy. We can only thank God for everything at all times.
In this year that is about to begin, I encourage you:
“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness of people.”– Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart.
"Don't limit yourself to. Don't limit yourself to learning, experiment. Don't limit yourself to read, absorb. Don't limit yourself to change, transform. Don't limit yourself to relate, advocate. Don't limit yourself to promise, demonstrate. Don't limit yourself to criticize, encourage. Don't limit yourself to think, reflect. Don't just take, give. Don't just see, feel. Don't just dream, do. Don't just hear, listen. Don't just talk, act. Don't just tell, show. Don't just exist, live." Roy T. Bennett, The Light of the Heart
For more reflections and positive thoughts, I recommend you to visit:
By Yeszenia Gulloso