Reflecting on...Reflection

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This year has seen some significant changes in my life:

  • I’ve lost of couple of dear friends, and watched as members of my family faced their own personal challenges.

  • At the first of the year, I got a distressing diagnosis from my oncologist.

  • At the end of the year, we learned that I may soon need to begin more intensive…more invasive… treatments.

  • Surprisingly, I got my first death threat on Facebook.
    (Yeah, I also would have expected that long ago!)

  • I finished the first draft of my new/next novel.

  • I became one of the hosts of a national podcast.

This president and his sycophant regime exhaust me, and scare the hell out of me.
The indifference I see about violence, inequality and injustice is alarming.
I continue to be disappointed in family and friends—people I thought were my friend—who espouse/support politicians who want to limit my rights, make it legal to discriminate against me, and nullify my marriage.
I am always stunned at the inhumanity displayed in those who hold the highest offices in our country, and in religious leaders who are supposed to uphold the highest principles of moral behavior, based on the Jesus they claim to follow.

Through it all, I've done much personal re-examination, and evaluation.
I've prayed...and meditation...and contemplated.
I've fretted and cried.
I’ve been overwhelmed.
I’ve felt that unexplainable sense of peace and calm.

There have days of great joys, and times of sadness.
I’ve had what my mom would call “blue days.”
I’ve had times of anxiety, verging on panic.
I’ve wrestled with apathy, to the point of despondency.

I’ve been hard on myself, disappointed with how I handled difficult situations and difficult people.
Occasionally, I’ve cut myself some slack. Even recognized my accomplishments.
(Honestly, there are days when just getting out of bed deserves an “attaboy!”)

I know I’m not the only person who has hardships.
I also know fluctuations of feelings are not unique.
Such emotions are common to anyone who has an open heart.
(To be honest, in my case, I assume some of my emotional swings are hormonal, an annoying side effect of my cancer treatments.)

One of the ways I cope is by journaling.
Writing helps me to process what’s going on around me.
It’s cathartic.
And healing.

When I journal, it’s not about spelling, or grammar, or sentence structure.
Journaling is intimate.
My thoughts, my feelings, my perspective, my questions, my observations, my fears, my insights.
It’s unfiltered, and raw. Often dark, and even morbid.
(Hey, living with the effects of a life-threatening disease is not always “cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels.”)

My journal is private, not intended to be read, though sometimes, my entries morph into readings I share at events, blogs or other public posts.

This year, with everything going on in my life and in the world around me, there’s been a lot of journaling!

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Recently, I’ve been re-reading last year’s entries.
It was a time of reflection…about all my reflections.

WOW!
I covered so much in the privacy of my own Quiet Times.

  • Significant changes in my faith.

  • Lies my church told me.

  • Questions I can’t answers, and answers I can’t prove.

  • My decision to stop arguing. (Even when I feel strongly that I’m right!)

  • Transitional people in our lives.

  • Me and patriotism.

  • My frustration with certainty about God’s existence.

  • Questions I wish every church member would ask their pastor.

  • Finding peace with increasing physical limitations.

Heavy matters, for sure.
Looking at that list makes it sounds like my journal reads like story notes from Stephen King.
But it’s really not.
I also write about hope, and comfort, and peace.
There are entries where I share personal insights, or make decision, come to conclusions, or merely express my gratitude and joy for still being alive.

And as I read back over my 2018 journal, I got to thinking: What are the chances that others are having some of the same questions, challenges and concerns?

So I’m considering using last year’s journal as the source for a new periodic “series” of posts called Reflections.
I’ll clean up the bad grammar, fix the spelling and remove the inappropriate language (Yes, I can be graphic when it’s just me and my writing!) to share as Brain Bubbles.

But don’t worry. I’ll also continue to write about other things that are bubbling up in my brain: movies, books, writing, TV, politics & Trump, religion…whatever.

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I think this is going to be an interesting year.
I have some exciting plans (my new book!), and some sincere hopes. (Impeach and Imprison?)

Until then, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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