Greeting 2018 – and a toast to exiting 2017

I’m looking forward to fireworks in the neighborhood tonight. Though I hear that a fireworks ban was declared this year, many predict it won’t be widely followed — in the Philippines? It’s where over the decades, ushering in the New Year has been celebrated in the loudest fashion and with the most spectacular fireworks displays in the sky. But we’ll see tonight. I still look forward to witnessing the traditional, garish way of celebration.

So how has 2017 been to you? For me, it went by so fast, regardless of what the sage says that time goes by more quickly when you’re older. I heard some young folks claim it went by like a breeze.

2017 has been a good year for me, notwithstanding the grief still felt with the passing of my husband in December 2015. Notwithstanding the occasional days or weeks of being under the weather due to colds or flu. Notwithstanding that my first pass at a musical theater script got five pages of “constructive” advice from a New York professional critic. Notwithstanding that my two biggest stocks are barely moving (upward of course). Notwithstanding that four light bulbs went out at home and I still couldn’t learn to stand on the chair to change them (had to call a handyman or wait for my son or daughter to visit). Notwithstanding the latest diagnosis from my doctor that I’m starting arthritis on my knees (though I’m bent on finding preventive measures to avoid its onslaught). Notwithstanding that I lost my nearly 101-year-old mother in December 2017. All these I take into account – and it still has been a good year.

The blessings are a myriad more. When you start counting your blessings, you won’t be able to stop at 3 or 5 or 8. There are just too many of them that you wonder why you didn’t even recognize they were blessings when they came. But counting them is good, because you remember, and you’re thankful, and you realize life is good, and someone up there has always been taking care of you. Despite the pains, sorrows and failures, there is much more to celebrate – numerous triumphs, gains, joys, and aha moments when we see there is so much to life than the obstacles or bumps on the pathway. We get there anyway, don’t we? Bruised and shaken maybe, but strengthened and still whole.

This is what thinking of 2017 does for me. It makes me see how God has worked in my life, in more than a thousand ways to care for me, my needs, my family and other loved ones. 2017 is no different from 2010, or 1958. His care is constant. His love is constant. And because He is constant, I know that 2018 will be a blessed year, too.

After my gratitude to God for every year, comes my appreciation for family and loved ones, for friends and others He has placed to be part of my life – for home, work, hobbies, music, church, fellowship, good weather, reliable car, internet blogs, some savings in the bank (no matter how small or big) … ah, and yes, for food.

So, here’s to a blessed and joyous 2018!

Linda P. Jacob