2018 Has Been an Unforgettable Year with Both Joy and Loss
This is the time of year for giving, celebration, observation of religious and family traditions, reflection, and renewal. As we bring 2018 to a close and I take stock of the year, it strikes me how volatile, unstable, and topsy-turvy this year has been. It seems that description applies in many different areas of our world, including politics, the economy, and especially the stock market. And from a personal perspective, the twists, turns, and emotional highs and lows in my own life over the last twelve months have been sort of a microcosm of the world in general. This year, my family and I have mourned the tragic loss of five dear friends and relatives. But we have also celebrated two joyous family weddings and welcomed my new granddaughter into our lives. A best friend and a close relative have had to take up new fights with cancer this year. Meanwhile, one of my adult children became a new homeowner. Additionally, my wife and I have both enjoyed business successes in 2018, but we have each been required to infuse a lot of creative energy and sweat equity into those businesses to achieve those successes. Needless to say, the highs and lows and constantly changing landscape of our lives can be exhausting at times, both physically and emotionally. So many times this year we have found ourselves balancing joy and poignancy literally at the same time. And it’s peculiar thing, isn’t it? Breaking into a smile and drying your tears simultaneously. As Dolly Parton’s character in the acclaimed movie, Steel Magnolias, remarked, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion”. Sometimes, I feel she couldn’t be more right!
Ultimately, I think we have to take the low points in stride and try to relish the highs. And the holiday season calls us to do both. So this year, we proceed with bittersweet approaches to our seasonal celebrations and observances. Even though we would give anything to do so, we can’t bring back those we have lost. But we can honor them by remembering what they mean to us and by holding our heads high and finding joy in every moment we are on this Earth. It is what they would want us to do.
In this life, I am blessed with more than I deserve. I have good health, a loving and close family, meaningful work, and great friendships. And through the hard work and perseverance of many who have gone before me, I live in a prosperous and free country. Because of these blessings, like so many of you, I feel it is my responsibility to give something back to my community and society. So I volunteer my time and money to efforts that relieve suffering in my community and help the less fortunate. In doing this, I hope that I am continuing the giving legacy of others from which I have benefited so much. But most of all, it makes me feel so good inside when I give of myself in this way. So as we pray this week for peace and joy, and for a happier New Year, let us all take stock of our opportunities to do good, and to act on those opportunities with abandon. It’s the best way to bring comfort for our losses and to live out our gratitude for the blessings we continually receive.
From the staff at StudyMetrix Research and me, best wishes to all for a happy Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year!
Timothy R Smith, MD, RPh
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