The other day I saw an internet meme titled “The Face of 2016”. The picture was of a man looking tired, disheveled, not angry at the moment but probably had been recently, and overall pretty beat up.
2016 was a difficult year for our nation and our world. This past year was coated with differences of opinions on every subject. It was inescapable. If you had a belief, vulnerability or something you hold dear, you can guarantee it was challenged. Hearing a recap of the top news stories on the radio left me feeling the familiar fear, anxiety, sadness and confusion. There was so much ugly. The lives lost are nothing to make light of and I pray our future improves. It has to.
But for me, I can’t reflect on 2016 without smiling back at this sweet face.
She embodies everything good from this past year and the reason we have hope for the next. Cybil’s birth in April changed me in an instant. She entered this world with the sweetest, most peaceful and bright disposition. Now that she’s a little older she’s learned to smile, wave, clap, and brighten up anyone’s day she comes in contact with. It’s been a joy to witness. I wish we all could be as accepting as little children.
Cybil’s gift to me was helping me slow down, listen and appreciate. This year in the midst of the restlessness and disagreements I really tried to listen. I tried to pause before reaching conclusions, to see past the abrasiveness and hear people over headlines. I realized I needed to spend more effort hearing how my friends were feeling, what they believe or don’t believe and their viewpoints than I had before. I surely wasn’t perfect and I know I have a long way to go. But I feel like I’m rounding out 2016 as hopefully a better person and open to learning even more in the future.
So as we look toward 2017, I’ll keep looking to these beautiful, bright-eyed children. I know their love and excitement for life will keep growing, and I hope all of ours can too.