The past few days my Facebook news feed has been flooded with personalized 2017 Year in Review videos.
Did you have one? Did you watch it? What did you think? Did you edit it before you shared it?
I watched about half a dozen before I watched my own.
You know what I thought?
I thought, “Wow! Life looks pretty darn good. Every person I know is just so happy, including me.”
And then I thought, “Fake news.”
Ok, not all of it. The photographic evidence is hard to ignore. Every photo appears to show a very happy moment and that’s absolutely true for some of them. It is also a complete sham in others.
The truth behind the photos
The video opened with a photo from our granddaughter’s first birthday. She is squealing with glee while she watches her brothers play. It is absolutely a moment of pure happiness, both hers and mine.
There’s a photo of me with my Mom and my sister in a winery in the Okanagan. We’re smiling and we look happy. We were happy, but what the photo doesn’t show is that just moments before we were all in tears sharing a moment of collective grief over a bottle of sweet white wine.
There’s a photo of our trip to England this spring. It was a trip filled with adventure, joy, and wonder. None of the photos from that trip will show the moment of grief that overwhelmed me so completely as I stood silently weeping in Canterbury Cathedral, one of the most well-known and beautiful cathedrals in the world.
The video reminded me of some of the birthday wishes I got last year. It didn’t show the reality that I spent my birthday last year in my Dad’s hospital room where he was recovering from a surgery we thought would save him.
It also gave a comment on the new Facebook friends I made this past year, forty of them. But it didn’t mention that I lost one of the most important people in my life, my Dad, just two short months after that ‘lifesaving’ surgery.
Everything can change in a year
2017 was a year of sorrow and heartbreak and grief. It was probably the hardest year of my life.
But in many ways, it was also one of the best years of my life.
I never felt closer to my Dad than I did in those last few weeks of his life. I don’t think our conversations were ever so honest and unfiltered. It was indescribable and unforgettable.
My Sweet and I challenged ourselves, both physically and mentally, when we walked across England following an ancient Roman path. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so proud of an accomplishment before.
We opened our home to a huge family gathering where we laughed and played and celebrated the ties that bind us together.
We spent time with people, both big and small, making memories that will last a lifetime.
My Year in Review video didn’t show the entire reality of the past 365 days, but it did remind me of something really important.
Even though the past year was hard, really freaking hard, there were also moments of laughter and happiness. It wasn’t all bad.
Making it through
I made it through.
I was reminded that even though there have been dark days and darker nights, the sun still came up in the morning.
But I didn’t get through it on my own. I couldn’t have gotten through it on my own, without you.
You called. You texted. You emailed. You messaged. (4957 times on Facebook alone!)
You told me you cared.
You told me I wasn’t alone.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Did I do that for you?
I hope I did. I hope that even though I had dark days of my own that I remembered you had struggles too. I hope I took time to encourage you, to send you love, to be your little light.
Facebook may be where we show our best selves, where life is almost always bright and shiny, but it can also be where we are reminded that we are not alone. It can be a community of support and encouragement. It can be where we are reminded that life is good, or at least that it can be good again, or even that it can be good in the midst of the bad.
Today is my birthday. I spent some of yesterday reflecting on the year I’ve had, I thought about all of the happiness and some of the sadness, but not today. Today is my day to be thankful for all the possibilities of a new year. It’s my day to look forward and here’s my hope for my next year – that when I come to the end of it may I be filled to overflowing with gratitude for the beauty of life and the joy of living!
Love and light to you all!
Because a year is made of more than just time, it’s all the people you spent that time with. ~ Facebook Year in Review video