A couple weeks ago someone asked me how I'd describe the past year. I think 2018 could be summed up in five words: "Life sucks, God is good." (Dibs on turning that into a bumper sticker.)
It's difficult to put into words the simultaneous feelings of hope and despair. They can't be isolated from each other. Like one artery pumping blood into the heart, and another pumping it back out. (And that's the extent of my understanding of human heart anatomy. I should probably just stick to jokes.)
This past year was difficult for a lot of people in my circle. I've had many hard, deep, and raw conversations about life, death, and the goodness of God in the middle of tragedy.
One question that's come up continually is: "I know that I have the hope of heaven, but will things ever get better here on earth?"
I told a friend--a dear human specimen who has patiently sound boarded my unfiltered thoughts and heightened dark sense of humor this past year--when she asked if I was hopeful about 2019:
"I'm hopeful that a lot of good things will happen," I said. "But I'm also aware that sometimes things just keep getting worse and then you die."
The only confidence I have going into 2019 is that God will sustain me through anything. He will hold on to me when I don't have the strength to hold on to Him. I wish I could promise myself and my hurting friends and loved ones that our trials were over. The reality, however, is that none of us know what's ahead.
With that said, I'm entering 2019 with a peaceful confidence. Hope for the future has managed to sprout up in a bed of sadness and pain. Turns out, manure creates rich soil. (That's the extent of my gardening knowledge. And also probably why our lettuce keeps getting e. coli.)
I know God loves giving good gifts to His children, and as I look back at the horror that was 2018, I see the unmistakable markers of God's presence. He kept me healthy during times of utter exhaustion, brought me more work than I've ever had before, and put incredible people into my path that I wouldn't have known if not for our common experience with tragedy.
So, I'll continue making resolutions and goals. I'll vow to never eat sugar again and have ice cream before sundown January 1st. I'll promise to wake up at 6am every day and go jogging, even though running is my sworn arch nemesis. I'll succeed in some ways and fail in others.
I'll make plans and believe God will prosper them, but at the end of the day I will say, "Your will, not mine, be done."
A few glimpses of 2018 in pictures:
Hiking in Albuquerque after a show.
This urinal garden. When I do women's events they often turn the men's bathrooms into women's facilities for the night and the creativity always makes me smile.
Going through old shoe boxes and discovering priceless memories of simpler times, when we thought shoving gummies up our noses was a hilarious past time. (That's the extent of what we put up our noses.)
Eating lunch with my 91-year-old grandmother, whose dementia brings with it bittersweet hilarity. (I didn't realize she recently went skydiving with Hillary Clinton!)