As this new year comes around, as Christmas peeks its faerie lights around the corner, as the whisper of snowflakes to be begin to kiss the air… I find myself thinking of beginnings. and endings. and what I hope for and what I fear. and what I’m going to do with those answers I find.

I’m afraid. I can say that much. I will admit I’ve been scared out of my mind for most of the last year. I can admit now that I’ve been sad for most of the last year, and anxious. I can also say that I don’t want to be that way any more. I can also say I don’t want to let go.

There’s other things I can say about this year. Amazing things. Things so unexpected and warm and incredible that now that they’re gone they hurt to think about even as they make me smile. The absence of those things is what makes me sad. It’s one thing, and more than one thing. It’s one big thing and many things around it. I don’t want to leave those things behind in this year. I want to take them with me, but I’m scared that if I take them with me in the same way, they’ll keep on making life too heavy.

My mind keeps circling around to one night. When I let someone really dear to me hold me close for the last time. He said, “we’re going to be okay.” I wanted to believe that. Really badly. But when months rolled around and there wasn’t a ‘we’ anymore, not the way I wanted it to be, it wasn’t true. I wasn’t okay. And I’m still not okay.

For a long time I didn’t know if I could be okay. Someone would say, you’re going to be okay, and I kind of hated them for it. How could they say that when I didn’t even know? But now, looking into this next year, for the first time I can say it to myself and believe it. I’m still not okay. But I know that somehow, someday, I’m going to be. I don’t know when, exactly. But someday. And I want to be moving toward that, even though I know that some days won’t feel like moving at all.

But that said… I know that I can’t leave any regrets behind in this year. I need to say everything that’s in my heart, or at least make it available to be heard. I need to do everything I feel like I need to do. It’s better to regret doing something than regret not doing something. (at least, in most cases) If I walk into next year and find myself still alone, I need to know that I did everything I could do. I need to know it’s not my fault. I need to know that if there was even a sliver of a chance, that I took it. I can’t be confident in myself any other way. I can’t leave it to God and try to find my dreams again without that.

Does this scare me? Heck yes. Heck. Yes.

But in the end, my fear doesn’t matter. What I do, does.

Do I want to walk into this next year alone? Um, heck no. Do I want to find connection again? Do I want to hold tight to this big hope and not let go? It’s all I’ve been able to think about for the last year. And whether or not anything changes before the year’s end, I’m still going to carry that hope with me into the next year, along with my memories. No matter what happens. That hope, those memories, are part of who I am. I’ll just walk into January with the resolve that this year, I won’t let them crush me. No matter if seeds turn into saplings, or if the ground stays hard and cold. I won’t die with them, even as I carry the prayer of growth along with me. I’m done feeling dead.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish that I could return to that moment, and hear those words change… ‘we are okay.’

I’m scared to open my heart and reveal everything that’s inside. That’s scary no matter the situation. But, in a bittersweet way, I don’t have anything to lose anymore. I’m jumping off the edge. Either someone will catch me, or I’ll fly solo. But either way, this barren cliff won’t be my home anymore.

My Mom once told me, “God won’t let you lose true home.” That rings true. No matter where I want true home to be, no matter where I think it is, no matter who I think it is, God won’t let me lose it. And as I step into the unknown, that is something I can count on.