“I don’t dwell on it.”
I often find myself thinking about my grandmother’s signature phrase. Grandma went through a lot in life – the Great Depression, WWII, and all the armed conflicts in between. She outlived seven of her fifteen children. When we asked how she coped, she simply said:
“I don’t dwell on it.”
Her words became my primary coping mechanism. When pain whispered, I refused to dwell on it, ignoring my tears and the feelings that went with them. I thought I knew her secret to strength: shove things aside and keep moving. Race ahead and pretend it didn’t happen. Refuse to dwell on it.
But then life caught up with me. Traumatic memories played on an endless loop in my mind, storming my mind and heart like a mighty army.
I realized that I had not only started to dwell on them, but to dwell in them.
I finally had to deal with my pain. Healing made its way through my carefully curated collection of secret wounds, and strength surged through me.
I realized Grandma had refused to dwell on things;
I had refused to deal with them.
I am learning to allow myself to feel the hurt when it hits because I know strength does not come from arbitrary barricades but from enforcing guardianship of my heart and mind. I now see that, while pain has been trying to invade, my God, my loved ones and my own strength have stood outside too, ready to help me fight if I would only let them in.
I am now striving to be the kind of person who deals with pain but who abides under the shadow of the Almighty, and who dwells among those who are amazing enough to love me through it.
And just like that we’re twenty years into the second millennium!
A milestone like this one tempts us to look back and marvel at how things have changed. (Can you believe that we are closer to the year 2040 than to 1990?)
But a new year presents us a new challenge: looking forward. We have a relatively clear view of the past. We see where we’ve been. But the future? Sometimes it seems like we actually have 20/00 vision when we try to look forward.
But this is a special year: it’s 2020, the year of perfect vision.
So why not take this year to make those changes you’ve been wanting for so long? Instead of dwelling on a list of resolutions you’re secretly afraid you won’t be able to keep, why not cast a vision for the changes you want to make in life?
Make 2020 the year of perfecting that vision. Take that big goal and break it into manageable pieces. Work through it as you can, keeping the big picture in mind as you move forward.
If one approach doesn’t work out, realize that you’re still being faithful to your goal: you are merely perfecting your vision. This is the year to break free. Resist the urge to stay chained to yesterday’s mistakes and realize that they have simply been tools to help you calibrate where you really want to be.
It’s 2020! May this be a year of wonderful change and the clearest vision you have ever had for your life. You’ve got this!