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Dear Clotea,

It is pretty risky writing this letter for everyone to see, but nothing great came to you this year without taking a risk so don’t stop now. At best people will read this letter, somehow see themselves in it and find some hope in this journey called life. At worst, it will be a good distraction for someone who is in between reading some emails and planning what they are going to do for New Year’s Eve. It’s a win-win situation.

What do you want to say to yourself on this last Sunday of the year that would be worth the time that it will take to write this and memorable enough to read over and over again year after year? 2018 has been an incredible year for you. You did things that you, as a little girl from East Cleveland, would have never thought that you would do. Traveling and being able to share your story and teach at the same time has been AMAZING! Even though all the while you longed for your mom to be there by your side with her wide and inviting smile, you were comforted by the fact that she was alive there with you- in your blood, somehow empowering you simply because of the legacy of being a difference maker she left to you. You found joy in that. You found peace in that. You stretched yourself beyond what you thought was possible because FINALLY after 46 years, you began to love yourself and see the role- no matter how small- you played in helping others feel important and find joy in the even the most minute things. You intentionally built relationships and stepped out of your box because you knew that only ugly things grew inside your comfort zone and to GET something DIFFERENT and to BE someone DIFFERENT, you had to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. You found passion in teaching and clung to it like a frightened little girl clings to her blanket or teddy bear in the darkness of the night. Passion. That was your word for the year. PASSION. FIRE. PURPOSE. CONNECTION- with God and with others. GOOD.

And even with all of the victories and new adventures, there were still moments of doubt…moments of introspection that brought about new revelations about yourself that was not always so easy to accept. Remember when you discovered that you had trust issues with GOD?! Yeah, you…YOU have trust issues, and you freaked out because you thought you had trust “mastered” (I mean after all you have only been a Christian for over 20 years, and you always say you trust) but you hesitantly realized some of the crazy ways you thought and let’s say “not so smart”decisions you made were because you did not trust God. Then to realize that this impacted your relationships with everyone in your circle REALLY took you aback. Hmph….trust. Trusting the process. Trusting the journey. Trusting your inner voice. Trusting God’s way and His timing. Yup- all things you had just scratched the surface of working on. NOT SO GOOD. Well, GOOD but not so COMFORTABLE.

And to think that in the midst of so many wonderful things happening that there was an inner storm brewing. There was inner turmoil that demanded to be dealt with. What you realized is that accomplishing “stuff” could be snuffed out by the darkness that came with unresolved issues. Your light could be dimmed by your own hands. Self-sabotage. What you refuse to deal with will deal with you eventually, and thank God that He knew exactly the right timing to reveal to you the tempest that had been brewing all along.

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SO NOW WHAT? You have had to say goodbye to some hindering habits and some mangled mindsets- all the while learning that “Goodbye” is not always a bad word. You have had to come into yourself more and doubt yourself less and step out into territory that you said you wanted but was not sure how much it cost to get there. You had to face your fears, dismantle your doubts and renew your mind to the possibility of success in areas where you were once afraid to go. To say that 2018 was one of the BEST years of your life yet one of the most CHALLENGING sounds like an oxymoron. “To lose is to gain”only makes sense to a person who knows that EVERY LOSS TEACHES YOU A LESSON IF YOU ARE WILLING TO LEARN. Perspective. Losing the desire to want to please others and stay comfortable inside of human crafted boxes was one of the best lessons that you learned this year. That lesson cost you the comfort of always having the support and understanding from the ones you had hoped would cheer the loudest. Losing the desire to accept less than what you deserve was a pivotal lesson that you had to learn in order to move into the greater things that had always been destined for you. Of course you lost those who had grown accustomed to you settling for less than their best and were bewildered that you had actually wised up and began to see who you were…who God had created you to be. You are choosing to carry the lessons of love and loss into the new year, and because of THAT you know that 2019 is going to be a year that is unlike any other. 2019 holds limitless possibilities to have more, do more and be more simply because you made a bold decision to to say YES!!! to great when you could have settled for just good enough. NO MORE SETTLING. Settling was for the pioneers, and although you will blaze trails, settling for anything less than what was designed for you to have is no longer an option.

Now go on and shine. The world needs a little more light.

Loving all of you unconditionally,

Clotea

C. Mack