Pebbles and Wells - A 2016 Reflection

We all know that 2016 is hurrying to a close (ahem, congratulations Australian and English friends for basking in 2017 already) and I find myself wanting to blog again but also wanting to process this last year and honour its highs and lows. So this is me trying to kill two birds with one stone. Wish me luck.

 
 

I'm grateful for this year. It has felt rich and hard but I'm realising that the riches were bought by those hard times; the uphill bits of waiting or sadness or questions. I came back from a few years of travelling last Christmas time and like those travels took months (well, years) to save and prepare for, I found that they too took months to recover from and in ways I still notice places that seem bruised or fragile for me. So, much of my 2016 looked like adjusting to life after travelling. I lived with my parents, I didn't work and I sought debriefing/counselling. I made myself journal, I made myself cry, I made myself remember.*

I'm starting to understand hard experiences to be like pebbles and empty wells. Bear with me on this one. We, the wells, all have depths that everyday life doesn't often teeter close to. Looking into the deep darkness of a well, the bottom is unclear. Likewise, we don't know what our rock bottom will be or what will push us over the edge. But when we go through something hard, when we suffer or when life throws us something brutally heavy, a pebble is tossed into this well and its rattling and eery sound identifies the bottom. Its noise echoes and through it we learn things about ourselves and our characters, our expectations and disappointments. We learn how we respond to a new level of challenge, and I think that pebble’s sound is valuable. Through it, we grow. We become more self-aware. We become more compassionate to other people's wells, and more authoritative in our empathy towards another's strife.

 
 

In all this, I'm not claiming to have carried the world's weight on my shoulders this 2016, but this year did introduce me to a new depth of lowness/hopelessness/disappointment which I can't negate when I think about these last twelve months. I wonder if we’ll all finish 2016 with this same notion of there having been hard times and lessons to learn - that’s okay, uniqueness isn’t my claim here. I am thankful though for my pebble this year. I’m thankful for that low, despite its loneliness and slow pace and my whimpering throughout. A bit like a runner reaching the ribbon of the finish line, I’m thankful to reach December 31st, 2016, having come out of the other side of this ‘pebble’ doing okay. From it, I feel victorious, I feel sobered, I feel wiser, I feel corrected, I feel grateful. So here’s to the lows, may they shape us to be ever more gracious and ever more humble, and may we resist bitterness with determination that some may deem foolish. May we love, may we learn.

Head to my creates page if you’d like to see my favourite books, songs, movies and documentaries this year.

*If you'd like to read more about my travels within 2014-2015 and the recovery I’m referring to, head here:
The Around the World Track - Vimeo
Confessions of a Weary Traveller