Lessons Learned in 2008

newyearseveSo this is the New Year.  And not a moment too soon.  As I’m typing this, it’s 11:00 pm New Year’s Eve.  One Hour and one extra second until 2009.  In some ways, it can’t get here soon enough.  I’m not at all sad to start writing 2009 on my checks.

The last 12 or 13 months have been among the hardest I’ve experienced so of course, I’m hoping for a bit of an easier road in 2009.  I ended last year without a ‘real job’.  Consequently, I decided to do my own thing and start my own marketing company with all the instability and insecurity that’s included in that kind of venture. It’s something I was previously terrified of even considering.  Almost immediately on the heels of that decision, the retina in my left eye tore & detached not once but twice in 3 months.  An extremely unforeseen and traumatic event that rocked me.  I’ve never before considered vision as something for which I should be grateful.  Well, I am now. 

On the other side of all this unexpected drama, I realize it’s been a great year for me.  Maybe one of the best in some ways.   This last year has taught me a lot.  One of the biggest lessons I learned is “I am not my job”.  Probably obvious to many but this has been a  hard lesson for me.  Being forced to doing this job on my own has really made me look at my life like a whole not just my job as my life and then everything else  if there’s room for it.  I think I am gaining a new perspective . . . slowly. 

The main thing I have learned is that I am not in control.  When I was sitting in the Opthamologists office with the 2nd detached retina, I asked him what I could have done to prevent this from happening.  He just looked at me as if I’d said something stupid and said ‘nothing’.  When I followed up with ‘why’, he just said ‘bad luck but I’ve had patients who have had 5 in one year, so this isn’t so bad.’  Gotta love doctors’ bedside manner.  That certainly wasn’t an answer I wanted.  I didn’t want to think I could be sitting  in that chair in 3 months waiting on another horrifying outpatient surgery or worse and not have any ability to prevent it.  No control. 

I think control must be the greatest illusion of them all.  We build our lives in way that allows us to believe we have it all under control; anticipating anxiously, planning feverishly, worrying endlessly.  You’d think 13 years in the music industry would’ve been more than enough time to teach me I am not in control.  But I’ve always been a slow learner when it comes to the important lessons.  

Shockingly, I have kind of learned to enjoy acknowledging I’m not in control.   For me the answers have come in choosing to grab onto contentment.  It’s certainly not a reflex action, I have to think about it but I am learning to find contentment in the mist of the uncertainty.  I am learning to trust that my friends and family love me.  Just me. Not because of what I do or don’t do.  I am learning to trust that no matter what comes music industry-wise, I have skills and abilities that I worked hard for and I can use elsewhere or I can work hard and learn new skills.  Even now, I’m practicing “would you like to Super size those fries? or “can I get an espresso drink started for you?”  

Most importantly, I’m learning to trust that God is in control and that He is working in and through it all.  The Bible tells us that He can work through all things for good for those that love Him, even through things that were intended to harm us.  So, even in the worst times, I am comforted that He can use that for my benefit and ultimately for His. 

So after considering the lessons learned in 2008, here’s what I hoping for in 2009: 

To learn to love deeper and longer my family and my friends.

To be intimidated less by the things that scare me. 

To invest myself and my resources in things that really matter.

To grow my circle of influence in a way that benefits others. 

To spend my time wisely as if every hour is an investment in something with great potential. 

To know, love and trust God more.

I certainly have a list of specific wishes but I am learning that often the things that we don’t hope for ourselves are the best things.  So, I’ll work toward my goals today all the while expecting the unexpected  and in the meantime, I’ll continue practicing being content with whatever circumstance I’m in. 

Happy New Year!

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”      Lamentations 3:21-26

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