by Dave Markwell

2016 sucked. Hard. It was without question the most challenging year of my life and maybe just simply the worst one I’ve ever had. I hope it dies in the dust of my history and not become a challenge to “God” to sharpen his pencil and invent new and even more painful ways to bring me misery. 2016 was enough for a while.

Reflecting upon my year, I see loss and I see gain. It’s difficult in the firestorm of loss to see upsides. Having survived hard things before, I know that invariably we learn valuable things through them. We learn things we cannot learn without them. We gather materials for life after the hard thing. These things are important. We add to our catalog of information from which we can construct a better life.

When our rocket ship blows up, if we survive, we have new data about how to build a better rocket ship. This is not failure. This is success. Survival is success and learning is success. Growth is success. Though sometimes, growth is uncomfortable.

Like the lobster growing out of its shell, the exoskeleton must be shed, through deliberate and painful effort, to make room for a new, better one. This is life. I know many people living uncomfortably in a shell that no longer fits. This is sad. And while change is sometimes sad, it is not as sad as not changing. This is the saddest thing there is.

So, as I turn the page on crappy 2016, I look forward to 2017. I look forward with new eyes and a perspective gained and a fresh start. I look to the sky and see a successful rocket launch. The lessons learned were for something, not nothing. Believing this requires faith. And I have it. Learning the lessons requires believing in this faith. And I do.

In my sky, I also see other colorful and stable flying machines next to mine and if at some point during this magical journey I see yours, I will smile and wave from my rocket ship window and be happy for you. Counting down…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). He also runs the new Waterland Arcade, located at 22306 Marine View Drive South. Dave extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, Dave needs more friends – find him on Facebook here.

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