It happens every year.
My dad has this awesome idea that at the end of each year we're all supposed to say thanks for the things that happened. After giving thanks, he then proceeds to ask us our goals and our plans for the new year. He writes down these goals and plans in one of his notebooks. And then I think he just forgets about it because I've never heard him bring up our past goals. Or maybe he remembers then but just prays about them or whatever. One day, I shall ask him what he does with the list of goals we make every year.
This year, we sat down to dinner and my dad suddenly announced that we would be giving thanks right after. It was only December 30 and I was about to say that it was too early to give thanks and make plans. Truth is, I never make a plan for the new year. I just go with the flow and see where it takes me. So I wasn't able to invent any plan for my dad to write down. And giving thanks for the year that is coming to its end was the last thing I wanted to do. Mom wasn't really in the mood to talk and think. I guess when papa saw that no one was in the mood for his new year invented tradition, he got so annoyed that he just stormed out of the dinning room. I stared at mom and thought, 'Gee. This happens every year.' Mom was too tired to respond that she went upstairs and fell asleep before I could bug her about buying more candies to give random people. I lingered around the dinning table thinking about the year that was slowing slipping away.
And then it hit me. 2011 was the year of crap and shit and f*ck. It was the year of breakups and heartbreak and calling it quits. It was the year of finding out who cheated, who was a liar and who was really to blame. It was the year of giving up on friends, finding new people to hang out with and staying close to those who mattered most. It was the year of moving to a different church, moving to a new school and preparing to move out of a place we've been living in since I don't know when. It was the year of admitting that I lacked faith, admitting that I wanted to have faith and admitting that I needed faith in a Higher Being. It was the year of accepting that pain brought about happiness, that fear gave me the strength to overcome and that joy comes from always finding things to be thankful for. It was the year of hanging on to family, of finally living out the definition of family and understanding what family really meant. It was the year for change and adjustments and reshaping the future.
When I look back at 2011, I see a timeline. A timeline is a graphic representation of the passage of time. I see certain familiar faces. Some of them are smiling. Others are still stuck in their moment of grief or sadness. A bunch of them are dancing around to some Korean songs I will never learn by heart. I see Wong Fu productions and KevJumba and NigaHiga and David Choi and AJ Rafael and Kina Grannis and other YouTube people who don't know me but have inspired me. And there are some people. who are just standing there watching me, staring at me and judging my every move. There are kids! Kids running around, singing Man Who Can't Be Moved, dancing to I'm Yours and telling stories around Sound Of Music. I face them all and acknowledge how they have contributed to my year. Doesn't matter if they were put in my life to make it suck or to make it awesome. What matters is they were there for a reason and I thank them.
I see so many events taking place at different times of the year. I see the hand that held the earring for my first cartilage piercing and the look on the face of my friend when the earring broke through my skin. I see the look on the face of mom when she saw the piercing for the first time and how she wanted to throw me out of the house for it. I see the pain on the people who had realized that I was crying out for help and they didn't know how to give it. I see the shock on the church when we finally decided that it was time to leave and let go. I see the people who chose to circulate rumors instead of speaking the truth. I see myself on the first day of school and I look like a lost little girl. I see myself trying so hard to keep friendships intact and relationships from falling apart. I see colors everywhere making their way to my hair and nails. I see cookies being eaten by people who think that selling them would be a great idea. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot people wondering what I did right. I look back at them and point to the heavens.
I hear so many words being uttered. Hopefully the uplifting words drown out the noise of the curse words and the words I said in anger. I hear so many complaints about other people coming from me. And then later on I hear myself saying, 'I'll put up with you because you won't change.' I hear many stories being told to friends, to relatives and to myself. I hear laughter and sobbing and giggling and whispering all around. I hear about lessons learned and lessons that have to be repeated. I hear through the ears of others and hear their hurt and their pain. I hear myself wondering how I could help them while I was in no condition to comfort others. And then I hear a voice that commands me to help them regardless of how I feel.
I hear so many prayers being said. Some are random like, 'I want that Dungeons and Dragons game.' Others are prayers out of desperation. All prayers were meant. I realize that the prayers were answered. I wonder if the number of prayers I said would be equal to the number of times I said thank you. I wonder if the times I expressed my gratitude over something would match the number of demands I made. I wonder if my praises would be more than my questions, if my adoration would be more than my blasphemy and my respect would be more than my defiance to the Higher Being. I wonder if the words I said out of worship would erase the times I lashed out in anger to blame the Higher Being for my existence. I hear a voice assure me saying, 'All is well.'
I go farther down the timeline. I feel too many things at once. I feel the emotional pain I felt earlier this year. I feel the physical pain I go through almost every month when I sprain my feet, get an asthma attack, get menstrual cramps, endure endless hours of temporary blindness from something called optic neuritis and constant deteriorating health. The sadness of losing someone close to me almost gets me in tears. Good thing happiness decides to step in to remind me about those days I smiled over something so stupid and lame called Percy Jackson and Tella the hamster. Happiness which came from choosing to be happy even though words would sting and situations sucked. Joy came after my spirit went through hell and decided to it was time to get serious about life. I figured that feelings should never be the one to drive my life, but it should always be the giver of feelings who has a say in all situations.
On and on I go until the words I said, the thing I saw and the emotions I felt became one big picture. Everything I did, I said and felt merged into one whole canvas filled up with lots of colors and pictures and words. But it was one big picture made up of smaller images. Shouldn't my life be the same? Shouldn't I reflect only one thing? There should only be one emotion. There should only be one word. There should only be one action. There should only be one feeling. There should only be one plan. There should only be one goal. There should only be one reality. There should only be one solution to numerous problems. There should only be one answer to all questions. There should only be one song to be sung. Only one demand. Only one dream. Only one person to light the way. Only one prayer. Only one Higher Being. Jesus.
If I were to sum up my 2011 or my timeline in one word, it should be Jesus. But after going through it, I'm ashamed to even say that I thought of making Jesus my description of my year. Sure, that Higher Being is in my timeline; in my life. Yet, He isn't the big picture. He can be found somewhere in the images that make up my life, but not all of those images have Him. So when you look at the canvas there are portions which reflect Him and portions where he isn't glorified. There are bits and pieces of Jesus but it's not enough so that when others look at it they'll know that He was in that canvas. And then I realized that I fell short. I had put Jesus in as an ingredient when He should have been the final product. I put Him in when I felt like it and when I didn't feel like it, I left him out. When I couldn't understand Jesus, I put in so many other man made answers. My canvas had Jesus, but it didn't have enough of Him.
What if in the new year, I put more attributes of Jesus into my canvas so that at the end of 2012 I can say that Jesus is the word that describes my year? What if I made a conscious effort to become more like Him so that I can say that He is my Creator? What if I started acting like Him though there is pressure all around to do otherwise? What if I started caring for people the way He cares for them? What if I listened to others the way He listens to me? What if I felt things the way He feels them? What if I said things that would bring Him happiness instead of pain? What if I prayed the way He wants everyone to pray to Him? What if I worshiped with all I am and not with what is left over? What would happen if I made my life, my timeline, my canvas reflect the life of this Higher Being I call my Jesus? What if my timeline became His timeline? What if my life was His to live? What if He is the one who paints my canvas?
What if I try hard to make Jesus my goal for 2012?