As I sit here, I am thinking about 2015.  I have come so far.  Last year, I was devastated by the loss of my job and basically, the way of life that I was used to.  So much has happened since August 2014.  I am reminded through loss there is hope.

For instance, my mother lost her mother, her best friend, her husband and her son within the last five years.  This would have broken many people.  I know she was broken for awhile but she managed to pick herself up and move forward.  I have asked my mother and my father if they would rather have my brother here instead of me.  Of course, it is not a question to ask your parents but sometimes, I feel that I am not what they need.  Yes, I have accomplished quite a bit in a short amount of time but ultimately my value cannot be measured against my deceased brother.  The message in this is that everyone has value in different ways.

Hope and thankfulness are connected.  When I am at my lowest, I can always find something to be thankful for.  I have been given the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of continuing my education.  I could not have done this without my parents.  I found hope within my thankfulness because I know that my future will allow me to pay it forward by helping others.  I never would have thought that all the hardship, pain and loss would shape me to be the best of who I am.  I know that I will be an awesome counselor because I have walked the same path of hardship, pain and loss.  Empathy cannot be learned.

As Christmas approaches this week, I celebrate with family and friends the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus.  We are nothing without him.  He is the reason for the season.  In a world of death and destruction, He is the light that will lead us home.  He gives us hope.

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