From Seed to Sequoia

“Like the frost on a rose, winter comes for us all.”

Before 2017, I never really liked the cold. The only thing I usually like about winter is Christmas, but this year I found myself appreciating the cold. I wasn’t sure why I enjoyed the snow and freezing temperatures so much until I recently heard the song Seasons by Hillsong. There is a quiet peace I find in that song and its poignant lyrics. Perhaps one of my favorite lines is, “Oh how nature acquaints us with the nature of patience.” 2017 pressed me for patience.

If I’m being honest, this year felt like winter most of the time. There were moments of light, but most of 2017 was heavy. In between the brightness of meeting amazing new people, traveling, working for a U.S. Senator, and speaking at the She Should Run National Conversation, I found the heavy overpowering the light–especially in the last few months of this year. From the presidential inauguration to family drama to moments where I wasn’t sure if I could make it another day, there often seemed to be this perpetual cloud of darkness. It was hard. “Winter comes for us all.”

I think 2017 was my winter. It was cold and lonely sometimes. The wind of depression and anxiety was bitter and seemed to perpetually block out the sun. But I made it through and grew stronger from it. I faced my deepest sorrows and began the process of overcoming them. I found my way towards a church that pours into me and builds me up towards the person of faith I aspire to be. I stood up for my values even when my beliefs were challenged by the people I love most. I did it. I made it. I’m thankful.

I’m thankful because the light shining through on those dark days was people. Whether friends, authors, or comedians, the cherished people in my life have a way of making sure I know I matter even when it feels like I don’t. I am thankful for the people in 2017 and the ways they empowered and challenged me to grow. The cold days made me more resilient–“from seed to sequoia.”

I made a list of my New Years resolutions today and I am really looking forward to 2018. Among the typical health resolutions (no soda, more water, for example) I wrote “love well.” This is perhaps my favorite resolution. I struggle with this sometimes, mainly on my darker days. Other people are important too. They are the bread and butter of my life, they are my reason for living, the reason that I want to work in government and live my life in public service for others.

Even though winter came in full force for me in 2017, I’m looking forward to 2018. Instead of bending under the weight of the snow, I’m determined to glisten in spite of it.

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