Twirling in a New Year: 2018

 

 

I love new things, don’t you?

New socks.

New mascara.

New sheets.

New towels.

New shoes.

New books.

New friends.

I mean I love old things, too.

Old jeans.

Old boots.

Old photos.

Old jewelry.

Old books.

Old friends.

There’s just something comforting about the familiar.

But the new? It holds the promise of discovery and growth: Journeys to be undertaken. Accomplishments to be wrought. Stories to be uncovered. Songs to be sung. Dances to learn. Hands to hold. Prayers to pray. Rejoicing yet to happen. Meals to be enjoyed. Wines to be sipped. Beauty to witness – and just maybe to create.

2017 was a time I could not envision even ten years ago. Now it is a memory of a year gone by. A year of hurt and failure.  A year of depression and disappointment. A year of rage and resistance. A year of betrayals and rejections. A year of brutal honesty and national domestic abuse.

A hard, hard year and yet, there was beauty still: In the tears of the brokenhearted. In the embrace of loved ones. In the laughter of a child. In the drip of an IV carrying life-saving drugs to the cancer-stricken. In the ringing of a bell. In a cup of Stumptown Holler Mountain. In a walk with a loved one. Or kayaking on quiet waters. And in the best seats in the house and a hug from the generous-grinning HAMILTON himself.

Beauty was present because God was always at our side, never forsaking us. Never.

2018 will be no different. There will be hard things. Unbearable moments. Hardships we never imagined. Never want to imagine. Yet, there will also be incomprehensible joys. There will much laughter. Much twirling. Much rejoicing. There will be victories won and high fives all around. There will be moments of deep intimacy and understanding. Times when we finally feel completely understood and deeply loved and appreciated. There will be sunny days of quiet reflection and a gratitude that overwhelms us. Days when our spirits soar, when we sense that we really are co-creators with God. Days when we choose more good than evil. Days when we make God proud of the people we are becoming. Days when we are proud of the people we are choosing to become.

Transformation.

That’s really the promise of every new year, isn’t it?

The notion that we can become a better people.

Only Jesus can really wipe our slates clean, transform us from the inside out, but it is still important to recognize the hope that a new year offers each of us.

I’m excited about 2018.

I received news back in October that has made me even more excited than I would normally be on this last night in 2017.

Shall I let you in on the secret?

Lean in close, I can only whisper it for now. It seems too precious of a thing to shout out.

I have been selected as West Virginia’s Appalachian Heritage Writer for 2018. I follow in the footsteps of the likes of Wiley Cash and Charles Frazier, of Ron Rash and Silas House. Of Gretchen Moran Laskas and Bobbie Ann Mason and Adriana Trigiani.

There will be more news to share with you in the coming months, but needless to say, I’m over the moon about this unexpected award. When the good folks at Shepherd University called to tell me about the award, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and wept the big ugly cry.

Some years are so difficult than any act of kindness is  bound to be received with even greater humility and gratitude. 2017 was such a year for me.

2018 is already shaping up to be a year of many kindnesses.

Happy New Year y’all.

Let’s make it one of our best ones yet.

Remember the words of the Apostle: Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

 

Karen Spears Zacharias is author CHRISTIAN BEND: A Novel (Mercer University Press).

 

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

10 Comments

Debbie

about 7 months ago

Congratulations! So well deserved and awesome. I'd say also it's about time. Happy New Year day.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 7 months ago

Thank you, Debbie, always so quick to support my work. Thank you.

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Marian Carcache

about 7 months ago

Congratulations! What a beautiful post and well-deserved honor.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 7 months ago

Totally unexpected but much appreciated.

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Madeleine Tavares

about 7 months ago

Love you Karen! So proud of who you are, all you do and of this outstanding award. Here’s to a wonderful 2018!

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 7 months ago

Madeleine, long journey here, isn't it? You've been faithful all the way.

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Kathleen Rodgers

about 7 months ago

Dear Karen, Congratulations on the writer in residence award!!!! That's so fantastic. I just clicked on the link and read the list. You are so deserving and I'm so proud of you. You will inspire so many others to keep reaching for their dreams. xoxo Kathleen

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 7 months ago

Thank you, Kathleen. You understand how unusual and surprising such honors can be!

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AFRoger

about 7 months ago

Congratulations, Karen! This is an honor truly earned. What a spot to be in residence, there on the banks of the Potomac at the convergence of four states. How much time will you actually be 'in residence' there? Classes, lectures, workshops? Tell us more.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 7 months ago

Thank you, Roger. I will only actually be there a week or so but it's a year-long program that involves a One Book Common Read for high school and college students. And a host of other events, etc. I think MOTHER OF RAIN is far more an accurate portrayal of Appalachia than Hillbilly Ellegy but then I am not looking for a political platform by which to thrust my political ideology

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