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THE YEAR THAT NEVER WAS

This wasn’t the year I planned.

This wasn’t how things were supposed to unfold.

This wasn’t in the script.

12 months ago, as I prepared to change the calendar, it was all there stretched out in front of me; the dreams, the hopes, the visions of what was ahead.

The possibility was palpable.

I’d planned and prepared and prayed as much as I could, and at the end of it all, I stood with great joy and expectancy, ready to walk confidently into the wide open, beautiful promise of the coming year.

As I did, I stepped into a stinky, steaming pile of surprise.

The work I’d planned on didn’t turn out to be the dream job I’d been assured it would be.

The people I expected to be my closest friends quickly became virtual strangers.

The money I’d counted on to keep my family comfortable suddenly evaporated.

And for a little while, I found myself lost and disoriented in disappointment and sadness, wondering where the path back to the dream year I’d planned was.

Soon it became clear: That dream is dead. That path has been paved over.

I had the choice of either dying along with that dream, getting paved over with that path, or I could keep dreaming and keep walking.

So I chose the latter.

I went back to the things that I knew before the year began; to the stuff that built the dream in the first place.

I dug deep to stoke the embers of my fragile faith. I endeavored to trust in the goodness of God regardless of the badness that seemed to be winning.

I clung tightly to the love of my family, and to the devoted friends who had persevered through time and distance.

I reached down into the jagged mess of crappy circumstances to excavate the voice that I’d lost along the way, and I started using it again.

I resolved to do what I’d always done before the calendar changed; to love people well, to speak with integrity, and to be who I felt comfortable being, regardless of the cost.

And little by little, I started seeing it; the new dream, the next path.

They’re both still unfolding, not quite perfectly clear, but I’m getting just enough of them, seeing just enough, knowing just enough, to keep going in 24 hour chunks.

And really, that’s all any of us can ask for; just enough of the dream and the path, enough hope, and encouragement, and promise to keep walking.

Maybe we’re not supposed to get much more.

And so now, on the brink of the New Year, I look back on the old year that wasn’t, and I am not disheartened any more, but grateful.

Though it gave me more grief and discouragement and failure than I’d have chosen for myself, I’ve come to see and feel and know things that my dream year never would have allowed.

I found a new compassion for the hurting.

I found a greater solidarity with the grieving.

I unearthed a deeper, more authentic faith in myself.

I gained a new appreciation for the love of those close.

I found a new respect for my own strength.

I felt the power of forgiving someone else, when they may not have deserved it.

I rediscovered the voice that only comes when you speak truth.

I found a peace that you only get when you use that voice well.

I learned to trust in a God who is bigger than circumstances.

As I reflect on the year that wasn’t, I celebrate that fact; realizing that maybe the year I’d wanted, wasn’t big enough, or important enough, or good enough for me.

So here, as I prepare once again to change the calendar, it is still all stretched out in front of me again; the dreams, the hopes, the visions of what is ahead.

The possibility is still palpable.

The only resolution I’m making as I move forward, is to hold that possibility loosely, and to trust fully in the better dream; the one that unfolds day by day.

You may have been surprised by the year that wasn’t, but be encouraged in that.

Happy New Year, friends.

Keep walking.


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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28 comments

  1. Beautiful. Happy New year to you too

  2. Happy New Year to you too.

  3. Happy New Year to you too, Wally.

  4. A lovely 2015 to you. We love you.

  5. Happy new year to you too

  6. Thanks for this, Walter. Do have a beautiful new year.

  7. Johnny Uchenna Walker. Happy New year, May you never give up hope on the future. May we all never give up hope

  8. True the year didn’t turn out as planned but I’m glad it’s ending this way. There’s so much to be grateful for. On of them is this blog and the ‘family’ here. So here’s to Walter and the MMS family. Happy New Year. Keep walking…Keep dreaming.

  9. Thanks Walt. That meant a lot to me. I can relate.

  10. Thanks for this piece, Walter!! Happy New Year filled with New hope for us all!!!

  11. Thank you.This piece is more than just words but deeply motivational.Thank you and have a surprisingly,amazing 2015

  12. Awwww..such heart touching piece…
    Happy new year to you Walter

  13. That moment when network wont allow you to comment… Thiz iz awesome

  14. Happy new year Walter.

  15. Happy New Year Sire… 2015 would turn out much more better for all of us by God’s grace…

  16. Happy New Year to you too Wallie. At least MMS is waxing strong and stronger it would be

  17. Happy New Year to you Walter and like I always say, you make writing so darn easy! This is a masterpiece and it resonates too well! Plus, we’re still here! And better still, we get to try out again don’t we?! If at first we don’t succeed, Aaliyah of most blessed memory says to try again didn’t she?! So, keep moving Walter, one baby step at a time and you’ll get there! E go be! Cheers! LOL

  18. And a very happy new year to you sir Walt. I once read an excerpt from a poem. Said something like ‘Though your castles may fall keep building.’ 2015 holds better things, much better things for you, for me, for us all. Shallom.

  19. Motivational piece. May God go before us and make all the crooked paths straight in 2015 IJN,Amen! . Happy New year Walter ‘Uche boy’

  20. Keep Holding it Shakes.
    A happy new year!!!

  21. Thanks a lot Waltz, for sharing this heart touching piece. So glad you became part of my world…Happy New Year….

  22. Happy New Year Walter, May this year 2015 be our year of Exceeding Expectations as we trust fully in the possibility that GOD can do all things…

    Happy New Year too to all the MMS readers and commenters too…we rock!

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