Old is gone, new has come

What 2021 taught me about faith, hope and love

Daniel Newman, Copy Editor

A recent photo of Daniel taken by his girlfriend while out at the movies together. (Courtesy of Daniel Newman)

I was never a person hung up on New Year’s resolutions. After all, almost everyone gives up on those fairly quickly once the new year becomes relatively old. My cynical brain said, “Why even bother trying when you’re going to give up anyway?” 

As a child, I was strangely pessimistic. I can remember being a little bit scared when it seemed like positive things were happening in my life, in fear that the other shoe would drop and something terrible would happen. I thought it was better to view things negatively and be happy when things went well instead of being positive and disappointed when things didn’t go as planned. Looking back at my childhood, I think more heavily about the “bad” things that happened rather than the good.

I’m left to wonder if this is a me issue or a we issue. The media we are exposed to may tell the story. Most of the news that is ever reported on is negative, like death, wars and sickness. We may hear the occasional good news story and see things end happily ever after in Hallmark movies, but is this really real life? 

Something I’ve learned in this past year is that life is all about what you focus on and what you believe about yourself. For the longest time, I have struggled with my worth and how much, or little, I feel people value me. In high school, I felt people cared about me, but I didn’t think they liked me very much, because I was never invited to hang out with other people. Reflecting upon it now with a rational mind, I realize that was my own fault, not making full connections with anyone and instead choosing to be acquaintances with many people. I had friends, but few close friends. 

College helped this, but the pandemic sent some of my friends far away, and I went searching for things that wouldn’t satisfy. My relationship with God dwindled, and I was often left sitting alone in my SPU apartment to work on school, watch my TV, and browse the internet.

In this time of loneliness over the past few years, many positive things happened. I took a chance and applied for my first online internship condensing book summaries. This may seem like a small moment, but I’m proud to have gained enough confidence to have applied for that job and done it successfully. 

I’ve also managed to love myself enough to be loved by others, seeing myself as God sees me, beloved and set apart. The love I’ve felt from my beautiful girlfriend has helped my self-confidence, helped me grow closer to the important people in my life and helped me grow closer to God. Even if I fall and make mistakes, she is always there to catch me and lift me up again, mirroring God’s love for me.   

During the pandemic, loneliness drove me to become a person I wasn’t proud of. I was still the same on the outside, but on the inside I felt broken. Now, there were two ways I could face this feeling. I could sit around and focus on how broken I was, or I could take the steps to change and become a better person. My girlfriend showed me true and compassionate love and patience and taught me that I could change. I no longer needed the love of others. Through her, I was shown true, godly love, and it has allowed me to become the person God has made me to be and be given a life I never knew I could have.

Realizing this does not bring my journey to an end, but rather to a new beginning. From my loneliness, I gained my life partner.  I’m sure I’ll make many more wrong choices, but now instead of beating myself up for them, I can allow myself to grow and change. My weakest moments do not define me. We do not grow from perfection, but we grow from mistakes. In 2022, I want to let myself love fully and be loved fully, taking chances I wouldn’t normally take and living a full life instead of sitting on the sidelines. After hearing Dr. Achterman tell journalism and communication students to be brave for three years, it is finally time for me to take that advice.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” -Revelation 21:5