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Gratitude in Uncertainty

Neighborhood Overpass in Portland, Oregon. Stenciled words saying "Everything will be okay" and "Hold your heart up."
Overpass over I-84 in Portland, Oregon. Camera: iphone XR.

When I think of how this year began and how it’s closing out, it makes me want to weep. A few tears for what was lost. Some for the things that were never realized. But most of all, tears for the life that I have gained. I know I am not alone when I say 2021 has changed me. Maybe not irrevocably. And perhaps not for the long-term. But in ways that are new and undefined. I am convinced I will look back years from now and will be able to point out the important thread lines that began this year. It feels as though I have been set sail.

Earlier this year, my heart decided to crack wide open. I cried every day for a few months. It wasn’t depressing. It was freeing. I liken it to how young kids run around without restraint, expressing however they feel in the moment. We are born vulnerable, but the wounds we survive keep us from staying true to ourselves. This year reminded me we can unlearn and relearn things as many times as we need to.

I know I am not alone in concealing the unflattering things about myself – I’m human, after all. But recently, I invited a few more people see through the hidden windows of my heart and head. I let them see the really messy bits, which petrified me. But also healed me and made me braver.

I also fell back in love with words and writing. It took some time to get reacquainted, but it’s likely here to stay. I think back to when I was a professional blogger making fistfuls of money writing about things that didn’t matter so much. That feels like a lifetime ago. Now, I write for pleasure and to work out how I feel. The purpose isnt to monetize, but to create something. After that, it’s out of my hands.

Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, I can’t explain the alchemy of human connection. I wish I could. All I know is we don’t choose the people we love and who love us. We only get to choose the volume in which we give and receive love. It’s worth fiddling with the settings now and again. And to err on the side of louder and more.

I know that some of you are reading consistently and others infrequently. Thank you. I see you, and I love you. And I’m ever so grateful.

Onward to 2022. We are in it together.

Sunday Dispatches

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