No, this is not a story about an anus, although I’m certain most would expect that from me and my generally juvenile mind.
Annus=year. Horribilis=bad. (Latin=awesome).
According to Wikipedia, The phrase annus horribilis was used in 1891 in an Anglican publication to describe 1870, the year in which the Roman Catholic church defined the dogma of papal infallibility.
More background from Wikipedia before I get to my particular point: The expression was brought to modern prominence by United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II in a speech to Guildhall on 24 November 1992, marking the 40th anniversary of her accession, she said:
“1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.”
1992 was indeed a very bad year for the monarch and monarchy. But it passed, and everyone (well…almost everyone) survived it. The Queen, it’s been said, did the best she could and gave it to God.
Very different scale of course, but as we come upon the holiday season and year’s end here now in 2019, I’ve had a difficult time finding the festive spirit in myself that I am seeing in those around me. And in thinking on it today I realized it’s because I’ve had my very own annus horribilis and I’ve been struggling mightily to deal with it.
We all have them. 2019 was just my turn, I suppose.
Let’s see. Just this morning, a dear friend was found guilty of all kinds of crap charges in a government show-trial which really has left me gutted due to the utter BS and unfairness of it all.
A few days from now will mark the one year anniversary of a terrible car accident that left me with a brain injury that has weakened me and changed me for the worse which I am still struggling to overcome (though, thankfully, we’re getting there and a full recovery is in sight).
A few weeks after the accident, whilst visiting a friend in Massachusetts, I suffered heart failure, likely a by-product of the crash. Shortly thereafter, my health insurance provider retroactively withdrew my coverage, citing a pre-existing condition, leaving me with hospital and cardiologist bills which I have no idea how to even try to pay.
I turned 50 this year. I actually am enjoying getting older, but friends and loved ones are starting to die. I know I need to get used to it at this point, but this is a new thing, and it’s a hard thing to wrap my head around. I’ve been fortunate enough to have not experienced a great deal of loss until recently — but that’s really both a blessing and a curse.
(I promise this story becomes less maudlin in just a few more grafs).
No fewer than four of my close friends have lost their mothers this year, one very, very close to me, which is an excruciating thing to watch someone try to handle and obviously something we cannot truly understand until we’ve gone through it. Thank God, I have not, but it’s all served as a reminder that that time will come for me. And frankly, I’ve no idea how I will handle it when it does. None. And it really scares me.
I’m a small business owner, and that’s another blessing and curse. This year, it’s been mostly a curse. Don’t get me started on the tax bill. Yikes.
And of course there’s the sad fact that our nation and our world are in a state of turmoil the likes of which I never could have imagined. That weighs heavily on people like me who care about things.
There’s more to the annus horribilis that I could cite, but the point is that it has all left me in a state of perplexion, confusion and often just plain, outright sadness.
I woke up this morning in a bit of a state, as I often do these days. I went through my morning routine of email-returning, news-reading, cat-petting and, frankly, panicking and then got into my car to go to a lunch meeting that I didn’t really want to go to.
I put the exquisite “God Is” from Kanye’s new album on:
I know God is the force that picked me up. I know Christ is the fountain that filled my cup…
Emotion overwhelmed me and I pulled over to pray. I’ve not been a big pray-er over the years but this one was a whopper.
And you know what happened after?
I suddenly found comfort in realizing that my health was stable and getting better. I visualized what life will be like after I’ve overcome the multiple challenges I face now. It was exhilarating. God helped me look beyond the moment.
I reminded myself of how my children, thank God, are thriving in ways I could have never imagined. They are extraordinary, grown human beings and I had something to do with that. I thought of their mom and our unique, supportive relationship. I thought of the book I have coming out. I thought about how fortunate I am to live at the beach…I counted my blessings.
God helped me look beyond the moment.
I thought to myself, “your problems are first world ones. Get over it, solve them, and get about helping people who truly suffer.”
That was God talking to me, and I will never forget it. Annus horribilus be damned. I am too strong, too resilient, and too resourceful to not overcome and be of service to others.
Doing the best I can and giving it to God.
Everything that I felt, praise the Lord
Worship Christ with the best of your portions
I know I won’t forget all He’s done
He’s the strength in this race that I run