with Lynne and Leslie
Tag Archives: New Year

2016: The year that was…sucky…and great…and a good set-up for something better

by SweetMidlife
Keep on rocking in the new year!

Keep on rocking in the new year!

This is Leslie, who does not write nearly as much as she should on this blog. My previous excuse has been that I write full-time as a newspaper columnist so I don’t always want to sit down and write some more, but time is money, and as a single mother I can tell you that making money is worth my time. So even though we don’t really make any money on this labor of love because we don’t write enough, we certainly won’t make any if we don’t write. Synergy and stuff.

So this is why I’m up at 1-ish a.m. on the last day of 2016, briefly writing about how even though this year sucked for so many reasons, it was OK or even transcendent in some cases. Yes, yes, I’m talking about the same year that killed Prince, David Bowie, Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, Glenn Frey and George Michael, among others. (Hide, Betty White!) And then there’s the fact of some major nastiness, racism and ugliness that seems to be bolder about showing itself. It was always there,  but now it’s just braver and not hiding (and if you’re attempting to blame racism on people who note that there is racism, this blog is not for you and you can go now, seriously. Get out of here with that mess.)

But bad and good things happen in every year – 2015 was the year I lost my husband, and 2016 was the year that the adoption of our son became final. So I’m a bigger fan of 2016. I am sure that in all of your lives, there are highs and lows in any 12-month period. I can’t speak for you, but here is a list of the reasons that 2017 might be better than 2016:

1) If 2016 did not kill you, you can make 2017 better.

Yep, that’s it. That’s my list. If you are still breathing, you have the opportunity to find something about 2017 to like. I am not attempting to downplay the very real pain that you may have about politics, or that rise in nastiness and sharp drop in courtesy and civility. It sucks. It’s real. And it might get worse before it gets better. (Again, go hide somewhere, Betty White, until the smoke clears.)

But let me lay something real on you – in 2015 I got the wind kicked out of me. In an instant I was a widow, a single mom, the primary breadwinner and a matriarch. Stuff got real. I was doubled over. And then I crawled to my feet and kept moving. I am not a hero. I am not special. I am not Beyonce. I’m a person who had to keep breathing, broken heart and all. For a while, I was just treading water. But now I’m doing something approximating thriving. It’s not the way I would have defined that before, but I now have some joy. And a new beginning. 2016 was a new beginning for my family – actually, everything that came after my husband’s death in July 2015 was a new beginning. And this year represents another one.

It is another year to fight the injustice we see, to slap down ignorance and buffalo racism, sexism, homophobia and other isms and phobias till they run screaming. It’s another year to lick our wounds, to regroup, It’s another year to hug your babies, to kiss your partner, to fall in love. To love on your mama and your grandma, or, if you don’t have one of those, to hold close whoever you have. It is a year to be better.

Because we are still here. Which is better than the alternative. Happy 2017, guys. It might not be the most awesome new year, but it’s awesome because it’s a new year we have.

They Should Know

by SweetMidlife

Hi!! Lynne here! Happy end of the year.

I have a bunch of stuff that I want to do next year: stick to my workout plans; update this blog more and make money off of it; be more present in my life and stop worrying; eat better; and watch less dumb TV, unless I am doing it on purpose and am only using it to delay things that I should be doing.

But the biggest thing that I want to do is to love better.

And this is about to get Jesus-y. So you know that before you read this.

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Loving people more sounds like one of those things that people say that means nothing and everything all at once, because it sounds great and positive, but is also so broad, it’s easy to not do. But I have to do something.

Because I have sometimes majored in the minors, and focused on good stuff that is not THE stuff.  You got something good like Jesus, you want to share that news. You want everyone to know. But that is where things get a bit, well, besides the point. Because while we are supposed to glorify God in everything that we do, the way to do that, in my view, is not to have your expression of faith limited to, let’s say,  monitoring other peoples’ holiday vocabulary and whether they say “Merry Christmas” to everyone they greet from Black Friday through New Years Eve. This is not what we are supposed to be ABOUT. Because while doing that may be Christ-related, it’s spending a lot of energy on semantics. And not the point.

Because the point of this was supposed to be love. In the Bible, in John 13,  Jesus is preparing His close followers for His return to heaven, and He tells them that everyone will know that they are His friends because they love one another. This will be their calling card, their identity. Not in how they obey the rules, or in how they get everyone else to. Now, I am not saying that rules aren’t good. But they aren’t supposed to be what guides us. Love should be our default, our big goal. We shouldn’t be leading with rules and then deciding how to love within those parameters. Love should be our priority, and then if you are doing that, you are going to want to do the things that honor that love. That is where the rules come in. That’s good.

This is not one of those posts where I put people on blast and talk about what other judgmental people do or say and take them to task for not living like I think they should. This is a post where I am calling myself out.

This year, and for the rest of my life, I want people to know that I am a follower and lover of Christ by how I love people. Because that is how He said they will know us. I don’t want you to know I am a Christian only because I say that I am. I can say that I am Denzel Washington’s niece, but I’m not. Me claiming it doesn’t make it so. So while Jesus would want us to tell people that we know Him because we are proud of this, this can’t be the only way they know. If people who I know find out that I love Jesus, they shouldn’t be like “Say what now?”

So here are some of, but not all of the ways I intend to do that……

Giving the benefit of the doubt to people.

Not assume that everyone is out to ruin my happiness, because this is not “Dynasty”, and I am not Diahann Carroll and they are not Joan Collins. But that would be cool. Until it got old.

Look for ways that I can open myself up to help people, and not be a jerk about it. But actually fix my heart so that I WANT to help.

Show grace. That’s probably the biggest one. Being a Christian shouldn’t be that there was a line of people who got to be forgiven, and you were the last one Jesus is ever going to forgive, so everyone else needs to wallow in their eventual trip to Hell, because you got the last Golden Jesus Ticket. And you are gonna remind them of that. That is just eww. You got grace when you were sketchy, and when you sometimes continue to be sketchy, and God still loves you now that you are trying to not be sketchy. Which brings us back to what He told His friends. He was saying “I loved you. I am leaving. The best way to continue my legacy and truth is to love like I love you.”

So that is what I am going to do. I will mess up sometimes. But that is going to be my default. I want people to see that that I know Him by how I love.

What are things that you can do to be more loving? They can be simple or grand? Share below!





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