It's already that time of year again. The time when I do my usual end of year self-evaluation. If you've ever had a job review for work, I can almost guarantee you that it's got nothing on how I tear myself apart and scrutinize, criticize and obsess over all I did or more importantly, didn't get right. And each year, I promise myself I won't do this because I know it's this horrible thing. I look for ways to beat up on myself or give myself this stern talking to. All because I want to be better, to get better, to do something, everything better.
This is a familiar pattern for me. One that goes back to high school, maybe even my pre-teen years. It's as if I give myself this report card. I'm graded on my appearance, my performance, my spiritual growth, the status of my relationships, my finances, my home, my job. I could go on. And up until November, I thought I would be finishing my year "on track" for once. And then December happened and I was kicked down hard by grief and sorrow and anger even, and at the moment, I still feel trapped under the weight of it all.
I can literally feel this shift within myself as the end of one year approaches and the beginning of another is about to start. I look forward to the feeling of a fresh start every single year. But I realized it's because I'm looking for another chance to get something right. I am never quite satisfied enough with my progress or where I am at on my journey because I feel like I'm still missing something. Like I'm not where I belong or I'm running late in life.
Just today, I did a major toy-purge and deep cleaning of Tommy's room. He received every Star Wars toy under the sun for Christmas and I went through his space trashing the junk, making room for the new, and giving him the choice on things he was ready to let go of. The result was a well-organized, clean room. A place for everything and everything in it's place. I realized that his room was a reflection for how I want to both end my year and begin a new one. I desperately want to create some order out of the chaos or to have something to show for myself for what I've done or achieved or gotten right this year. Unfortunately though, a person's life and heart are much different than their bedroom. Sorting through feelings, addictions, struggles and every day life isn't as easy as going to Walmart and buying a plastic bin and throwing those things in a box where they belong. Oh, how I wish it was.
Earlier this month, my best friend's mother died after a two year battle with cancer. But she wasn't just the mom of my best friend. She was a woman who impacted my life greatly, someone who loved and nurtured me when my teenage heart needed it most. She made me a part of her family and my life was literally changed because of her care.
With her death, I found that the usual cloud of sorrow that normally comes for me on Christmas day, came weeks early. I didn't expect it and the very first weekend I found myself in this horrible place, Todd was gone on a hunting trip and being alone turned into a weekend of bad choices and attempting to cope with food even though I know it doesn't work anymore. One weekend alone turned into two more because Todd has the crappiest work schedule ever and I sat alone and with food and with hard feelings. I became angry and bitter and other life things stirred up more of the same.
I tried writing about it, about her, the impact she had on my life and heart but all of my words felt stale and I decided that sometimes words simply can't do some of the things that happen or the people in our life, justice. As carefully and thoughtfully as one can compose a sentence, there are some things that just can't be written until much later perhaps.
But it's the end of December and I'm sitting in this familiar place of self-grading and evaluation and looking at this year that is nearly behind me. In so many ways, it was a great year, an epic one even. And yet, all I can see are the failures and disappointments of my December, and how I am ending my year in the last place I wanted to be at. Fat, angry at God, discontent, broken. I'm finding it hard to rest and even harder to give myself a break. I guess I don't think that I deserve one.