I had an art show this past fall. It was the culmination of the 100-Day Project and featured 100+ original prints + digital art pieces I created in the early part of last year to help me process the (lowercase ‘T’ but still very real-to-me) trauma of 2020.
For several reasons that I’ve only handwritten in my journals for now, that art show was a day for the books.
“This isn’t going to be an annual thing, right?” Hubs asked with trepidation after all the cleanup. I mean, never say never… but I hadn’t gotten that feeling initially. We continued talking about how I tend to “jump” from hobby to hobby and maybe this was that. Just like it’s been with writing.
This past year, it felt important to dive into handwritten words that were just for me leaving me with stacks of morning pages, some tear-stained but all bleeding over with dreams, prayers, frustrations, and gratitude. With pen and paper, I naturally bear all the things. And I continued throughout the year, until now since it’s become increasingly difficult to do so.
2021: The year where my biologic injections stopped working for no reason. The year where my body resumed its attack on my joints and the pain returned out of nowhere.
- I remember this past July sitting on a balmy patio with my husband and mom in South Georgia thinking how weird and abnormal it was to experience an autoimmune flare up after so long in what I thought at the time was remission.
- I remember this past August leaving my husband’s birthday dinner and asking to be rushed to the emergency room having trouble breathing due to inflammation in the lining of my lungs.
- I remember 3x more rheumatologist appointments this year than years past, thinking maybe switching to another prescribed biologic might help. (Spoiler alert: it hasn’t yet.)
- I remember a few weeks ago, waiting longer than I normally would to send Christmas Thank You Notes because my hands couldn’t function long enough to write them out by hand. (I still feel guilty for the other Christmas cards we received that I couldn’t return.)
Because of this, it feels like a good time to return to digital words. And even more so now as I embark on a new journey next week in search of answers concerning my body’s inflammation and reasons behind the pain. I’m hopeful there are reasons, but I’m preparing myself in the case there may not be any to find.
Last night, hubs and I rang in 2022 with a few good friends and a lot of homemade tacos (my favorite!). We stood around the kitchen agreeing that resolutions aren’t really our thing, but acknowledging our collective reflection anyway.
We have an ornament in our house that I’ve wrote about before. Hubs & I always jot down a few things to place inside; thoughts, intentions, sometime goals. I love looking back on what we wrote a year later to remember where we were and see if the strips of paper still hold true.
I unrolled mine only to discover that 2020 Amanda was tired and she plagiarized the words of Hannah Brencher before calling it a day. (Honestly, I thought about leaving them in for another year. They’re still so good.)
This year, I’ve done a lot of work around values so it felt right to include those:
- Live authentically
- Prioritize people
- Never stop learning
I also included two words that have jumped out to me recently: PURSUIT and REJOICE.
Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.Proverbs 21:21 (emphasis mine)
Years ago, the pastor of Cross Point Church spoke on the Israelites who crossed the Jordan in the book of Joshua and how they stacked stones in the river to remind them of the supernatural protection and provision they’d experienced. When their children and their children’s children returned to the river to see the stones, they would all remember what had happened.
This is what I keep coming back to.
There are some days where I feel physically helpless, but I can pinpoint the exact moment when I was brought back to life. I have the receipts. I’ve stacked stones in the river. Even sitting in this pain, I can return and rejoice because I remember why God is good.
Just as I stood in the kitchen telling my friends on the last day of 2021, in the midst of all the brokenness and disaster in the world, in spite of my not-great health circumstances, I feel rich. I am blessed with a roof over my head, a supportive husband at my side, and people that love me. I have friends who care so much about my well-being they force me to let them help when my pride gets in the way. I can’t think of anything I need that I don’t already have.
See? Rich. And so, so grateful.