New Year’s Resolution

by Sheri McGregor

This time of year, as the days grow shorter, and news of storms hit, I remember early eastern storms that hit several years ago. The early snow fell on trees that hadn’t yet loosed their autumn leaves. So, rather than slip through barren branches, the snow caught on clinging leaves. Weighted by the heavy snow, branches split and broke.

Seeing these trees, I saw a parallel.

When we hold onto emotional hurts, keeping injustice or difficult periods alive in our minds, new hurts have a way of weighting us. Injustices collect, one upon the other, until there’s too much to bear.

The role of stress in illness, imbalance, and disease has been well-documented. If a tree’s branches break under the weight of snow on clinging leaves, what might collected burdens and held hurts do to us?

When one dreaded emotional storm follows another, caused by the sometimes rough seas of life, the burdens can pile up. Remember to shake them off.

Several New Years ago, I remember thinking I’d had one of the roughest years ever. I had broken a bone the first week of January, and life continued with an onslaught of personal and professional storms that at times had me forming emotional callouses, withdrawing, or asking the dreaded why? — for which often there is no logical answer.

This isn’t like me.

Maybe  I can’t stop all life’s storms, but I can make helpful choices about how I react. I can remind myself of my more childlike resilient self. I can decide that no matter how devastating, hurtful people and events will not break me. I refuse to ruminate, and keep hurt alive. I can take positive action on things I can change, and let go of things I can’t.

As 2014 comes to a close, I will make like a tree that drops its useless leaves. I will shake myself free.

You can, too.

When icy life storms hit, and resulting “snow” falls, it can then slip past lightened shoulders. When it settles at your feet, shuffle past it.

Flexible and free  the path looks bright.

P.S. This might also include lightening the proverbial load by making fewer commitments and taking control of your time.

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How’s your life bouquet?

20 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thank you for this. Starting a new job today in a high stress environment. Dealing with alot of family loss, disappointment, and financial stress. The holidays are just sad this year for me. Thank you. I will breathe deeply and shake my branches today and remember your kind words.

  2. Congratulations on your new job!
    I’ll be shaking my branches right with you!

    One thing good about all the “leaves” that get shook off – – they make for fertile soil that helps us with new growth. . . .

    1. Your new years resolution is VERY Beautifully presented here. . and it helped my mind reading it. .

  3. Sue Jean,
    I’m glad you enjoyed it … and that it helped your mind. Wow! What a great compliment!!

  4. Thank you for this article. 3 years later as today is January 1, 2017, it brought peace to my heart. 2016 was a rough year. Our youngest daughter graduated high school and joined the Army. She went through basic training and I wrote letters everyday and clung to the one phone call every 3 weeks. I hadn’t seen her in 4 months and she came home for 2 weeks for Christmas and New Years. I wish now she had never been allowed to leave training. She hooked up with a boyfriend and she completely shut me and my husband out of her life. No contact whatsoever. I’m devastated. She leaves to go back tomorrow and I will not see her as she has made it clear she doesn’t want to see us. I never knew I could hurt so bad from this rejection. I thought we had a good relationship.

    1. I am just reading Done With the Crying. Thank you for writing this. I am searching for how to be okay with the rejection of my middle son. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. As a single parent I am guilty of putting my whole life into my sons, and the two oldest ones are on their own now, my youngest is still in college. The oldest one is busy with his own life, but he doesn’t really shut me out. The middle one, however, wants nothing to do with me. It makes me feel sad, worthless to him as a Mom, guilty of doing something wrong I’m not aware of and devastated and lonely for the sweet little boy he was with such a big heart. He now seems cold and hateful. Praying that God will change his heart.

      1. Bonnie I’m right there with you except it’s two sons for me. And there is NOTHING that can be pinned down as the cause. BUT they both come running when they need something! But those days are officially OVER! I’m trying to find comfort in the knowledge that Jesus sees it all, knows how I’ve loved and cared for them, and that He will make everything right. One day. May not be in this life time. Take care. I’m praying for us all. Carmen

        1. Our two eldest sons have abandoned us and ripped out our hearts. Our eldest has a very difficult and disturbed girlfriend who has isolated him from his friends and family. Our middle son just became impossible to be around. I, too, pray to Jesus that they are safe, well and happy. It’s so painful to know that we raised them to the best of our abilities in a calm and loving home. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.

  5. Thank you for giving me a new poersowective and a feeling if support that I’m not alone. A friends mother once quoted to me I can, I will and I must. This will be my mantra for 2017.

    Happy New Year to all you positive people out there.x

  6. I have a task that is going to make me very sad. I am doing a slide show for a lady that I worked with that I considered a good friend. Her daughter was supportive of her through all the illness and was just wonderful. When I think about my children being in that position I know I will not have their support for anything. Makes me wish to be her and all that she did with her kids. My life is very empty but she died just before Christmas this year 2017 and I know she will rest in peace now.
    My own life is very lonely and away from my kids and grandkids. They dumped me many years ago but it never gets easier to live with the holidays and their lack of respect or anything for me as their mother. I keep moving on and I know that someday they will be sorry for the hurt they have caused me. There is nothing I could have done to have them to show any understanding or give an explanation for the pain. I feel like I have grown horns or something as they deny that I exist.
    Thank you so much for the work into the book and all the messages that you are able to post. You must be a very strong person.
    Thank you again!

    1. Dear Grace,
      I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend! Please take care. Maybe focus on the happy memories as you prepare the slide show, because I’m sure she would want you to be happy. I hope you can keep in touch with her daughter from time to time too, and the two of you support each other.

      It’s a shame that your kids dumped you. But I have to say, Grace, I can sense that, rather than horns, you have a beautiful halo. Maybe it sounds a little overboard, but your tone is very kind. Thank you for writing to me. I hope that in the New Year, you can forge new paths to places that bring you joy.


    2. Hey Grace. I feel all the same exact emotions that you talked about. I pray that you are well. I also have some chronic illnesses and conditions that isolate me even more from other people. So I don’t make friends. I guess my ex husband is my best friend. I’m married to a man who I found out later married me because he was being evicted and was an alcoholic. He worked our “dating “ out, by restraining himself from drinking until he took me home, I guess. I did wrong. I could hear God telling me not to marry him. We have no relationship. He told me he’s not interested in one. But that’s all irrelevant to the kids. It’s just added to my feelings of not being worthy of true love. Let’s just remember how very deeply God loves us:) Take care. Carmen

    3. I’m in a similar situation with two of my adult sons. I wish you peace and love in your future and will pray for all of us.r

  7. Both my children have abandoned me.I am 78 and my son who doesn’t speak to his sister was taking care of me. He left and doesn’t talk to me.I feel so alone because I am in poor health and the couple of friends that I have are also in poor health but they have children that help them out. I have no transportation and find it awkward to ask a neighbor to take me to the bank. She h as her own life and doesn’t want to be Stratelled with me. My brother lives in another state. He listens but t h an again what can he do.I think of ending it but I don’t know how to do it successfully. Loneliness is a killer especially if you are poor.

  8. Both my children have abandoned me.I am 78 and my son who doesn’t speak to his sister was taking care of me. He left and doesn’t talk to me.I feel so alone because I am in poor health and the couple of friends that I have are also in poor health but they have children that help them out. I have no transportation and find it awkward to ask a neighbor to take me to the bank. She h as her own life and doesn’t want to be Stratelled with me. My brother lives in another state. He listens but t h an again what can he do.I think of ending it but I don’t know how to do it successfully. Loneliness is a killer especially if you are poor.

    1. So sad. Maybe you could do online banking and use Uber or Lyft for rides. Instacart is also great for delivering just about anything. I feel for you as my son abandoned me too.

    2. Cecilia. Are you okay? Do you by any chance, live in southeast Georgia? I guess it would be a miracle if you do. Praying for you. Carmen

  9. The New Years’ Resolution here is so wise. And helpful. Retha’s comment is very sad. I never had contact with people who lied within families until I was nearly 50. I grew up in a family where there was no drama of the type we’re discussing here – everyone behaved pretty well most of the time and love was widely shared. Now through exposure to in-laws and controlling spouses – who want money and nothing else – we have been dealing with lying, financial agendas and abuse. ( I hope it’s a coincidence that they’re both from recent immigrant families, but as a para legal for an immigration clinic in the past – I’ve seen quite a few examples of people moving to the U.S and using getting someone away from their family as a way to control them and their finances)
    I’m dealing with it with my daughter in law and her parents, desperate for financial gain and see getting complete control of my oldest son isolating him from the family as a way to success. It worked. These strategies are successful which is why we’re seeing so much of this today I fear. I had no experience defending myself from regular attacks from my son. It was clear they wanted him cut off from me so I wouldn’t weigh in with reasonable advice that would protect him. My son didn’t seem to mind the lies and phony documents they used to get visas, welfare benefits etc. before they turned their focus on his finances.
    The attacks against me began so early however I never had a chance to give him the warnings they knew would be forthcoming from any mother wishing to protect her inexperienced 25 year old son from grifters.
    I decided 4 months ago to let my ES and his wife live their lives without me, until she leaves him for greener pastures when he’s broke.
    I’m glad I never lashed out through social media or by sending text messages. I made sure the only written record from me – in case he ever wanted to re-read our communication – was loving and supportive. I never criticized his wife – however I’ve been accused of ‘ destroying their marriage, and causing her to file for divorce ‘ – when I hadn’t spoken to them in over a year. ( She didn’t file for divorce unfortunately)
    Some of the 20-30-something of today’s generation are strange in their expectations from parents. The narcissistic and childish behavior my friends also report about their spoiled children was unthinkable when I was young and raising a family.
    It’s great to have this supportive site where we can share our pain.

  10. I loved the list of questions to ask myself at this time, New Year’s Eve 2019. And the very good suggestions, like learn to put myself first and to come up with a few words I’d like to use as themes for 2020. I plan to journal a lot today. I’m starting out with the highlights of 2019 for me and then my goals for 2020. Thanks for all your help and Happy New Year to you too!

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