The good bits and the bad bits
The past two years for me have been a journey of deepening my understanding of hope and learning about anticipation and acceptance.
We have all had disappointments over the last two years – the things we have missed out on, the planning we haven’t been able to do or haven’t seen the point in doing. Life has been challenging in these crazy times but as it turns out, life pre-pandemic is challenging anyway.
And just as life has always had challenging moments, life also always has good moments. We get the good and the bad.
However, I have found that we often like to evaluate the year we’ve had – we add the positive, subtract the negative and hope to come out as net positive. Whether it is for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses or having a great looking Instagram profile, I find this sort of thinking gives a transactional lens to our lives. We end up stacking up the events of our lives against each other, reducing their value down to a simple evaluation of whether it was positive or negative.
The problem with this is that events or moments of our lives are rarely just events or moments in time. The lead up to an occasion or the aftermath or recovery of a happening – these can affect us long after the calendar entry has passed. The physical effort we make in planning and preparing, in executing, in packing down and cleaning up along with the mental strain in brainstorming, organising, vision-casting, processing, coordinating – these things take their toll on us beyond the order of the day. And that’s just for events that we have planned and anticipate.
When accidents happen or things suddenly take a turn for the worse – these things can take their toll too. So, when we apply this transactional lens to our years, aiming to achieve a net positive, I think we overlook the impact that the year’s events have on our lives. This can lead to us not properly appreciating or processing what has happened in our lives.
These thoughts lead me to this realisation: every year has its good bits and its bad bits.
The good and the bad
We have great moments or periods of time in a year – perhaps, the great moment of a good mark on assignment or feedback at work, or the season of buying a first home and the joy of setting it up. Maybe it’s anevening or weekend with friends and loved ones – people gathered around, sharing food, stories, and laughter. Maybe it’s an engagement, wedding, or birth. There are so many good bits of different shapes and sizes, and the impact of them on us differs between us.
On the other hand, we can have bad bits – poor health and hospital admissions, isolation from family and friends, cancelled events, job losses and money trouble, deaths and life-changing incidents. Even small things that happen which disrupt our days.
There are bad bits that affect us long after the immediate moment and there are good bits which are fleeting. There are good bits that affect us long after the immediate moment and there are bad bits which are fleeting.
All of this to say – we have years that are full of good and bad moments and seasons. It’s how we view that often makes the difference in the moment and in the moments that follow.
What do we do with the good and the bad?
Accepting the good with the bad recognises that we live in a fallen world, but we live on this side of the cross.
We are sinners but our salvation is available.
We have hope knowing that Jesus has saved us and continues to offer his peace to us right now.
It sounds simple because, in a way, it is. Simplifying our mindset, in this area, I believe helps us to deal with the issues in the moments and appreciate the joy of the occasions. Taking away the transactional lens which requires us to hold our whole year’s events in one view means that we can be more present to the actual bits themselves and therefore, we can deal with them and enjoy them.
When we know and accept that each year will have good bits and bad bits, I think we can ride the rough waves of the bad bits a little bit easier, smoothed by the good bits that have been, glistening with the good bits to come.
And even more so, we know that through all the good bits and bad bits we have Jesus, who forewarned us about them many years ago:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John chapter 16, verse 33.
Here, Jesus has warned us that we will have trouble, comforted us with his peace and claimed his victory over all of it.
A modern paraphrase of Jesus’ words might be to say: each year will have its good bits and its bad bits. We will get through the bad bits because we have peace, hope and salvation in Jesus. In Jesus, we have someone to celebrate with and praise for the good bits.
Bad bits will leave us with wounds sometimes, they may tarnish the good bits. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t also joyfully experience the good bits.
Here’s to 2022 and all of its good bits and bad bits to come.
Rebecca Hoverd studies law and geography at The University of Auckland and loves writing as a way to communicate with God and to unpack her thoughts. She loves coffee, conversations, and would love to hear your feedback at email@example.com.