Annus Horribilis, the Latin term for “horrible year” or “year of horribles,” is a good definition of how my life has evolved during the past few years. You name it, it’s happened, and I wonder how in the world I’ve managed to make it past the situations life has presented. Miraculously, here I…still standing.

Who hasn’t had a year, or sometimes years, like this with their own set of unique challenges?  All are fueled by different situations – the economy – the stock market – health – life stages – or just plain old bad luck. It seems like that gray cloud will just not go away. You rise and you fall.  You stand up and get knocked down and discover worlds of possibility in the struggle to get back on your feet. The key is to keep mustering up the strength to overcome and have faith in a better tomorrow.  You have to keep holding on and believing it will get better, and, suddenly, it does.

I’ve grown through my circumstances and could certainly not have become the person I’ve become without having walked through the fire. I am stronger.  I am wiser.  My heart has softened.  My spirit has turned outward from myself to others.  Being in need has taught me how to help those who have nothing. Knowing hunger has made me sensitive to those who struggle for their daily bread. Empty pockets have made me a believer in giving whatever I can and doing as much as I can for those less fortunate. I’ve found that you don’t need money to give.

The challenges we have been called to master are the reasons why we’ve become the people we are meant to be. Without the situations we have come to terms with, we could not possibly comprehend the sufferings or weaknesses of those we are called to help.

Are our troubles and sufferings really Annus Horribilus?  Or are they Benedictio Dei (God’s blessings)?  I think we all know the answer. Embrace them.


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