Bittersweet: Thoughts and Reflections on 2014

Bittersweet.  That’s how I would describe this past year.  The year started out with some very stressful and challenging situations, but we are ending on a much sweeter note, and we are hopeful for better things in 2015.

We faced some very challenging events this year.  In February I went the ER with a pounding heart and extreme dizziness.  At this same time, we were beginning therapy with our son for his behavior issues.  As we explored his behavior issues deeper, we made the painful discovery that he is on the autism spectrum.

In ensuing months, my health improved, and, through God’s leading, we found the right people to help our son.  I transitioned from working half-days to a new full-time job so that my husband can focus his full attention on our son’s therapy and homeschooling.  Our daughter started full day pre-Kindergarten.  Lots of good changes.

As I think about the concept of bittersweet, I remember the traditions of the Passover Seder involving maror and the charoset.  The maror is the bitter herbs, usually horseradish, that is scooped onto a piece of matzah and eaten.  It’s supposed to be a painful experience that brings tears and coughing and gagging.  Later in the meal, the sweet charoset (a mixture of apples, nuts, and wine) is scooped onto matzah.  Everyone likes this part of the meal as it is a reminder of the hope for good things ahead.  I always heard that the charoset represents the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to make bricks for Pharaoh; however, in the article I linked (click on the word charoset above), the author points out that in the Talmud, the charoset actually represents the blood of the paschal lamb, thus the addition of wine into the mixture.  One of the most meaningful parts of the Seder meal is when you take a piece of matzah and scoop some maror and then top it with charoset…a mixture of the bitter and the sweet…to remember two things:

  1. Even in the most joyous ocassions, we should remember those who are suffering, and
  2. When we suffer, there is hope!

Right now my family is celebrating Hanukkah.  Tonight is the 7th night.  7 represents completion, and tomorrow’s 8th night represents a new beginning.  What a wonderful way to enter into our Christmas celebration!  Commemorating the birth of our Savior, our Paschal Lamb, who shed His blood to take away the bitterness of death, sin, and shame, and to give us abundant life, righteousness, and confidence in the presence of God.

As we enter into 2015, I am determined to lay down the bitterness and pain so that I can embrace the sweetness of hope for a bright and glorious future.

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