I love New Year’s Eve. I always have. When I was a little girl there was a Rodgers and Hammerstein movie marathon on every New Year’s Eve and my parents would let me stay up and watch it until I fell asleep on the couch. One year I actually made it through every movie. My mother got up the morning of New Year’s Day and there I was, still in front of the television, mesmerized by “Flower Drum Song.” This should have been their first clue that I would pursue theatre as a profession. It is also where my obsession with the song “I Enjoy Being a Girl” began. So clearly, New Year’s Eve has been quite significant in my life. And, like I’ve said before, my memory is freakin’ amazing; so I can remember quite a lot from the past New Year’s Eve’s of my 33 years on this planet.
Last New Year’s Eve was one of the loveliest I’ve ever had. I was with my best friend. I drove to see Jake in the closing night of his production of “White Christmas”, which happened to be on New Year’s Eve. I hadn’t seen him in months and had been dealing with some personal demons that seem to creep in on me every once in awhile. Baggage from a divorce that had happened almost a year prior. Baggage that I couldn’t seem to shake. I struggled (and continue to struggle…) with major abandonment issues. I let myself fall down the rabbit hole of assuming that eventually everyone will leave me. Friends who claim to love me will run screaming for the hills. Family will come up with excuses to stay away from me. Relationships have no chance of succeeding because I assume they will fail before they begin. It’s dramatic, I know. But this is my biggest post-divorce fear and it has become my favorite piece of baggage to throw onto other people.
I almost cancelled the trip. A dozen times I thought about cancelling. I told myself that he didn’t really want to see me. He’d rather spend time with his cast mates. It would be a burden on him to have me visit. He’d be embarrassed of me. I wasn’t fun enough to spend New Year’s Eve with. He didn’t love me as much as I loved him. He was probably dreading my visit. The list goes on. And yet, I got in my little Honda and drove to him anyway. Four hours later I arrived where he was staying. I timidly got out of the car and put on my armor of defenses. I was completely ready to see his show and turn around and drive back home the same night in order to avoid any awkwardness. But before I knew it I could see him running down the street, wearing a red puffy vest that I’d forced him to buy. He sprinted through the cold and hugged me on that snowy Kentucky road like I had just come back from war. In that moment I knew that I was completely nuts and needed some serious therapy…and that I should never doubt my best friend’s love ever again.
My biggest struggle of 2016 has been to accept love. Love is a selfless act, and yet I always feel like I don’t have anything precious to offer in return. That my love alone isn’t good enough. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why I have these issues, hell, even I’m aware of why I have them. But the knowledge of the problem hasn’t been enough to help me fix the problem. I’m a work in progress, and I am working on myself…constantly. The upside is that as I sit here and reflect on 2016, I am able to feel so much love. I am able to think of specific circumstances where I knew I was loved and people who have showered me with love. Love that I don’t feel like I could ever possibly repay. How do you compensate such selflessness?
And that is the beauty of New Year’s Eve. It’s a special day to reflect on where you were and where you are going. It’s an opportunity to be honest with yourself and vow to do better. It’s an occasion to assess what you’re putting out into the world. It’s a moment to accept the blessings God has given you and pay it forward. I resolve to choose love. To always choose love. To learn to love better. To let others teach me how to love. To accept love without hesitation and to give love freely. And to always recognize, first and foremost, that all love comes from the Lord.
1 John 4:7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”