There's something nostaligically beautiful about the closing of a year, like the feeling of reading the last few pages of a book you love. Savoring the last few moments of a little journey you've come to know. It's nearly impossible for me to avoid looking back to the girl I was just 365 days ago, to marvel at how very much she had to learn about life, others, God, herself and love.
It seems that for me 2009 was a year of learning lessons of the heart. Here are just two lessons that 2009 taught me:
Always say what’s in your heart…even if it might mean an uncomfortable moment, some tears shed or the risk of sounding cliche.
I learned this in 2009 by not saying what was in my heart soon enough to a former teacher. In high school he was my theater teacher, but beyond that was someone who had always taken time to offer creative encouragement, offer a smile and very wise words. Even when he had so many important things awaiting his attention, when I'd drop by his office he'd set aside his work to ask me about what I felt inspired to do in life and we'd chat at length about musicals, plays and productions that we so loved. Several months ago, he was in his last few days of a battle with cancer. One night I, misty-eyed, sat down and wrote him a heartfelt letter telling how blessed I, and others, felt to have had his guidance and creative encouragement for so many years. Being busy with life, I set the card aside for a week until I could find an address, or a time to stop and see him. Within those few days, he passed away. Confidently I know my words don't matter now, as I'm certain he is in a heavenly place...boisterously singing in the skies (those who know him will smile at that sentiment), but I still feel sadness that I never told him how very much his creative encouragement meant to me. The card still sits on my desk at home, and at times I gingerly open it, reread it and tearfully wish with all my heart that I’d said those words sooner. Telling someone how very much they are loved, appreciated, cared for should never wait…no matter how busy life is, or how unnatural expressing that sentiment might feel.
Always do what is in your heart, and never doubt it…because life will suddenly mean so much more.
Even if it means rising before the sun several days a week, living on an (at times) shoestring budget to pay for tuition, nearly forgoing groceries for a week to buy bigger, better art supplies or majoring in a field in which the career outlook looks dim. Life comes alive when you’re chasing what you feel in your heart…and in the last few months of 2009 I’ve felt this fully.
Here’s a hope that 2010 brings you a year full of heart…and a heartfelt wish that you have someone to kiss, hold close, high five or toast with at midnight…for auld lang syne, my dear.