Taking a blessing in disguise as a sign of hope for 2024

Published 9:39 am Friday, January 5, 2024

As much as we joke about the “new year, new me” cliche, I think it’s safe to say the majority of us still begin each January with at least a mental list of what we want to do better in the new year. So, it can be a bit disheartening when something immediately goes wrong when the calendar rolls over to a new 12-month cycle. When that something involves the health of a loved one, it can be a brutal blow, no matter what month it is.

And that’s how my family began 2024. Just before the new year began, I got a phone call from back home in Alabama letting me know my mom had suffered a small heart attack, if there is such a thing. The term seems oxymoronic, but I knew what they meant and I leaned on the description of it as “small” as a desperate source of comfort.

Here we are, nearly a week removed from that day, and my mom is fine. The doctors said it was the “best kind of heart attack you can have.” Again, I knew what they meant, but saying it out loud seems like such a strange phrase to utter. But, as I listened to their explanation of what had happened, I realized that not only could this situation have been much worse than it was, but if it hadn’t happened, my mom may have had no warning that anything was wrong at all. So, it seems it was a blessing in disguise, because now she can make the necessary changes to ensure she doesn’t experience a more serious event down the road. God works in mysterious ways, indeed.

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And I’m taking that as a sign of what we all should really know already: Life is so fragile, but if we pay attention to what is happening around us and heed the warnings and signs, we can typically navigate setbacks with much more ease and much less stress. 

And maybe that is the trick to actually making these New Year resolutions stick. I know when I set a goal and immediately feel pushback, I’m far less likely to persist and eventually overcome the resistance. But, so many times it seems like I look back at life events that I thought were the end of the world and realize hindsight truly is 20/20; that those things needed to happen in order for me to have a better and brighter future. It’s just a very hard thing to see in the moments those things are taking place.

I say all of this to hopefully offer all of us a little hope for the new year. Whether it is a small goal you’re trying to achieve, or a a huge life change you are simply trying to survive, my hope for all of us in 2024 is that we will have the poise to stop in the midst of our storms and realize this too shall pass, and we just might be better off when it eventually does. Maybe everything really does happen for a reason.

I’m out of cliches now. So, here’s to a happy new year. I hope your blessings come with clarity and peace, but just be mindful that sometimes they come disguised as something else.

Blake Bell is the Executive Editor and General Manager at The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at blake.bell@vicksburgpost.com.