Fires burn bright red and rage relentlessly, claiming whatever property they may please. They dominate and consume and engulf. But when fires grows weary, they burn out, leaving behind nothingness. Then nothingness lies still and silent. Cold, dark dust and ash rest weary on the earth’s floor. Patience is learned here. Eventually, rain feeds the Earth’s tired tongue, and with the turning hands of times, growth slowly prevails. Patience is rewarded. Flowers, greenery, and beauty blossom. Animals return home. Strength is resorted, and the lungs of nature breath with vigor once again. Fires lend an essential hand in the cyclical growth of nature. Fires destroy so newness can occur.
It would be easy to turn a blind eye to the horrors of this year and flee in its wake, vowing to repress its memories somewhere dark and distant. It’s no secret, on a global and personal level, this year was a shit show. It would be easy to shove it back under the rug of 2018, so its shadows don’t appear dancing on our walls in the middle of the night. It would be easy to endorse cowardness and pretend that ignorance can stop injustice from haunting our good conscience. Violence, dividedness, a potato sack of ignorance as our president, unprecedented natural disasters, etc. The immense amount of negativity and corruption contaminating the pot of justice wreaks to even the deafest of noses. Moving down to a personal level, the obvious. The great loss, the pain, the trauma, etc. My naivety and innocence were slapped from my skin as I received a cold welcome from reality. I was dealt my first soiled deck of cards. I was left fending for myself in a pack of hungry wolves.
However, the cards we are dealt do not define us. It is our next move that is the hallmark of true character. In 2017, I learned what it means to say that life is precious. I have learned to let go of what and those that do not serve me. I learned to surrender when appropriate, and fight when necessary. Watching the puzzle of this bizzare year unfold was truly incredible. As it ebbed and flowed and twisted and turned and crashed into walls. The lessons this year has offered are invaluable, but what I have learned about lessons, is that it is our choice to learn from them or to ignore them. The fruits of life ripen within struggle, but they do not fall into our hands. We have to reach, to jump, to challenge ourselves to grow. Upon losing everything, even more beautiful things were placed into my life. I am so lucky to have tasted my mortality at such a young age. I am so lucky to be so loved. I am so lucky that writing comes easy to me, and that I have created purpose from my struggle and a support network for myself. Most of all, I am proud to say that I have served as a resource for many young people struggling with chronic illness. I would consider my work as a writer and an advocate the most meaningful and rewarding of my life so far.