Bittersweet.  I’m reflecting on that word as I sit in my favorite coffee shop in my old hometown, The Little Apple, Manhappiness, my home for half my life.  I’ve been gone a year and a half and I’ve only been back a handful of times.  I left thinking it would be more.  I’ll be back.  I’ll visit people.  I’ll keep in touch and maintain all the good things I have going here.  And I have maintained many of them but time has limited this to a great extent.

There have been ups and downs since we moved.  Starting two new businesses and working 60+ hours a week at the beginning.  The rockin’ Saturday nights at my office trying to get the thing off the ground.  And then the working 60+ hours per week because the work was there.  When you pray for something so intentionally it’s hard to turn down opportunities when they come.  Sometimes I have overextended, needing to set the very boundaries I help my clients learn to set.

And at every step, the next right thing we needed has come, including a building just right for our work, a fantastic receptionist when we desperately needed one and the next fantastic receptionist when the first one moved.  Three amazing clinicians and enough work for all of them to have schedules as full as they can manage.

Our new hometown has enabled us to build two successful businesses doing work we love, a house we love, a school we love, friends we love, and our kids see grandparents multiple times per week.  And I’m so grateful for those things.  This is the sweet part of the bittersweet.

The bitter comes when I’m back in my old hometown.  I remember that we had work and a house and a school and friends and so many good things here, too.  We left something good hoping for something great.  And if I’m being honest, both were great.  I’m embracing that, sitting with both the comfort and discomfort of that understanding, enjoying a delicious blueberry scone and a latte in my favorite coffee shop.

I’m not sure where you are in December.  I find lots of folks are feeling pretty bittersweet this time of year.  Maybe it’s the short days, cold weather, sickness, and lack of sunlight and vitamin D bringing down some of the joy of the season.  All the holiday cheer bringing up memories of loved ones who aren’t here to celebrate.  The ending of a year highlighting the shadows of the year in review as well as the sunlight hopefulness of the new year to come.  I’m going to use Dr. Seuss’ words to apply to bittersweet in this way, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”  And I am.  I’m smiling for all the good that was, that is, and that is coming.

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