Thoughts of the week

The holiday season is coming to an end and a new year is just around the corner.  This by far has been the toughest year I have ever faced.  Filled with loss and pain.  It has also been filled with growth and hope.

We have all experienced a major loss.  The first year of facing birthdays, holidays and anniversaries after the pain of losing someone close is always a tough one.  The grieving and painful realization of how different life is going to be without them.  Traditions may need to be altered and the family dynamic may be completely different.

Most of us have been prepared for these larger shakeups with the experience of minor setbacks.  Loss of a job, stock market drops, the victim of a crime or house fire.  These things prepare us for the larger losses that we will all eventually face.  But there is a flip side to this.  In all crisis, there is an opportunity.

We can experience our biggest moments of growth through these trials.  If our hearts are open we can learn from it.  We become even more resilient to future struggles.  I’m not saying they won’t hurt any less but our skills with dealing and understanding will improve.  Plus, with the experience of knowing there is a reward on the other side, we gain HOPE.

The sad part is, most of the time we are not open to it.  In today’s world of constant distractions, we tend to push those feelings down and continue with the day to day grind of life.  If we don’t deal with those feelings they manifest themselves as stress and sickness.  We don’t get the experience or learn anything from it and we lose hope.

How does this translate to me personally?  I have mentioned that 2017 has been the worse year of my life emotionally and professionally.  I have learned a lot about how I react to the world around me and the effects it has on me.  I still struggle and I am learning new things every day, every day that I am open to it that is.  I still fall back to my old ways at times.  This will be a lifelong journey that I am looking forward to.

I enter 2018 with true hope and excitement for what the future holds.  I see struggles and obstacles in my way but these things fuel me, I move in faith.  I also see unlimited possibilities in my future.  Having a plan but staying open to deviations has always been a struggle for me.  “Semper Gumby – Always flexible” as we say in the Corps.

So next time you face a struggle, face it head on, learn from it, grow from it.  The only way to get over something is straight thru it.

And now abide Faith, Hope, Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love- 1 Coriththians 13:13

Semper-Fi & God Bless

Tom Knapp