- Lots of hiking and visiting with family and friends
- Building five new garden beds for flowers and vegetables
- Enjoying the resultant garden bounty
- My son’s engagement to a wonderful woman
- Celebrations of birthdays and holidays (including my Dad’s 80th, and my Aunt’s 70th.)
- Jam making! 40 jars of Saskatoon Berry or Wild Grape this year
- A high school graduation!
- Watching my children star in musical theater, or succeed at school or employment
- Celebrating with my brother as he wins awards with his first book
- The Raptors winning the NBA championship!
Except it didn’t. Here is what you didn’t see in my Facebook posts:
- An unexpected death in the immediate family
- Job loss
- Loss of health care coverage (I am a type 1 diabetic)
- Two youth suicides two days apart, including one youth whom I had previously criticized
- Increased Anxiety
- Bad side effects from medication including extreme fatigue
- Anxiety attacks – (no Hockey or Basketball watching for me!)
- Multiple blown job interviews (related to all the items above)
For those of you wondering why I suddenly stopped writing for Internet Monk last year, now you know. My last post was sandwiched between the two suicides. I was pretty much completely non-functioning for a month and struggled for months afterwards. Even after obtaining new employment, I was so fatigued by the end of the week that I would sleep between 30 and 50 hours each weekend.
I am doing better now. My medications were adjusted. My energy is coming back. I have a job that I enjoy. I have always had a wonderful wife and family. I can watch hockey again! Go, Leafs Go!!!
This past year has left a lasting effect on me. I realize now that I really have no idea what people are going through. My criticism of the one youth will probably haunt me for the rest of my days. I do think however that this past year has changed me for the better. I try to be more considerate and kind to others when interacting with them, both in person and online. I will be faster to compliment, and much more hesitant to criticize. I no longer argue or debate for the sake of debating. I find that I can now identify and empathize with others who are struggling in ways that I could not before. In fact, I have been making an extra effort to encourage those who need encouraging.
Here is my first of two thoughts:
Let’s try together to make Internet Monk more of a place of encouragement this year. I know that I could certainly use it, and I know that many of you are going through difficult times as well. Let us try to encourage each other with our comments, and try to find the good in what others say. Let us restrain ourselves from jumping on others comments, and from deliberately provoking others with our own comments.
My second thought is this:
Although I intentionally try to not spiritualize my posts, I was reading Matthew 26 on Wednesday night and saw some immediate parallels to what I have written here. As we are in the season of Lent, I thought it appropriate to share them here.
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to his death and he is clearly distressed.
My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…
My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will…
My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.
I realized that Jesus suffering as he did helps us relate to him in our suffering, just as I am now able to relate with to others in their suffering. In many ways the incarnation of Christ, is as important as the crucifixion and resurrection, because in the incarnation he was one us: Walking with us, eating with us, tempted like us, and suffering like us.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.