As we know, January is a time of setting goals. New Year, new resolutions. This year, one of my main goals is to give myself grace. Grace to mess up, grace to give something a shot, grace to feel all the feelings.
I even thought about the strangeness of feeling different emotions at once when I was replacing the calendar that hangs in our family’s kitchen. I enjoyed pulling out a brand new calendar with crisp corners and blank pages, but I also felt a hint of nostalgia as I put the old one in the recycling bin. I was aware that the transition to a new year—like many transitions for me—can be a little bittersweet. I am trying to offer myself grace during times like these.
As I walk around the Family House, I’m aware of the variety of emotions that our guests may be feeling. The ups and downs of medical treatment and caregiving can make you feel like you’re on a disorienting roller-coaster. One minute you’re feeling anxious and hopeful at the same time. The next minute you’re feeling discouraged, and the next minute you’re feeling peaceful. And that’s okay. What if we honored each of these? What if we honored the strangeness of feeling them all at the same time?
Maya Angelo once said, “I had so many rainbows in my clouds. I had a lot of clouds but I have had so many rainbows. Prepare yourself so that you could be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” I appreciate that quote so much because Ms. Angelo is honoring the whole challenging experience. She isn’t dismissing the clouds or telling us not to grieve or lament or acknowledge that something is hard. But she is encouraging us to recognize that hope and beauty can emerge in the midst of trying times. In the same moment, we can hold these together, and we can even be a part of that experience for others.
As we make our New Year’s Resolutions, may we honor our emotions, our experiences, our discouragements, our fears, and our hopes and dreams. May we give ourselves grace. And may we be rainbows in someone else’s cloud. When you think about it, I’ll bet you’ll find that you already are.
— Lindley S. Curtis, MDiv, MSW
Lindley is a theologically trained social worker and coordinates support services at the Family House. To speak with Lindley for one-on-one support and information about resources in Winston-Salem and in your home community, call 336.793.2822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.