Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Good or Bad?

Countless people on social media are saying, "Good riddance!" to 2016. To them, it was a crappy year, and they can't wait to cross that magical threshold at midnight tonight and start fresh. 2016 was a year filled with celebrity deaths, an awful presidential election, and that terribly disappointing Independence Day sequel. Who wouldn't want to say goodbye to that?

Sure, 2016 may have brought with it a lot of not-so-great things, but does that alone make it a crappy year? Perhaps all those people who are judging the year based on what happened in the news are missing the point.

For me, 2016 was challenging. For my sister Elizabeth, it was more so. She was diagnosed with breast cancer right before Christmas 2015. I was with her when the doctor told her how advanced it was and how drastic the treatment would be. For the next several months, I went to her chemotherapy sessions, took notes at doctor appointments, sent out regular email updates to friends and loved ones, and helped her out when she was weak from treatments or recovering from surgery. I also organized a spaghetti dinner to help her with expenses.

It was a stressful time. But it was also a special time that deepened my relationship with my sister. We probably spent more time together in 2016 than we did in the five years before that. A lot of that time was spent laughing and talking about our kids, or Star Wars, or how to reorganize the crazy cluttered mess I call my storage room. Sure, there were tears and even a little anger, but Elizabeth always found her smile again. And she never lost faith. All this while keeping a job and raising four kids under the age of eight.

When it comes to challenges, cancer is a pretty big one. All the other challenges that 2016 brought with it are piddly in comparison. But was 2016 a crappy year? I say no.

What I have learned from 2016 is that a year isn't necessarily good or bad because of what it brings to you. Maybe it is more about what you bring to it.

So whatever 2017 brings your way, I hope you make it a great one.

Happy New Year!

Elizabeth and her four little ones.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28


  1. "... a year isn't necessarily good or bad because of what it brings to you. Maybe it is more about what you bring to it."

    Great insight and sound advice, Rebecca. My father's emergency surgery, hospitalization and extensive rehab have us in a similar circumstance for 2016, but I can't say it's been an awful year. It's been more challenging than most, though, that's for sure.

    1. Thanks, Tim. I hope your father is doing better! And I think we can both agree that it would be nice if 2017 isn't quite so challenging.


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