The Best Year of Your Life

I had an interesting conversation with a coworker the other day. It was one of those conversations that left me thinking, then praying, then writing, and now blogging. He asked me this question: “If you could relive one year of your life – not to change anything, but simply to relive it – what year would it be?” Now, my initial thought was, “What’s the point? I’ve already lived that year once, so why would I want to return to something so familiar? What would be the fun of that?”

What left me pondering this thought long after I had gone home from work was the fact that I didn’t have an answer. Every year of my life has been filled with ups and down, joys and pains. How could I choose one that stood above the rest? The only answer I could offer my coworker was, “Well, I know which year I wouldn’t choose.” But now I’m not so sure. As I laid awake in bed thinking of that year I have long considered to be the worst year of my life, I began to think that maybe it wouldn’t be so terrible to return to it. In fact, if I could go back with renewed vision – if I were able to take with me the perspective I have now – that would probably be the year I would choose.

I learned so much in that year. I learned how to stand in the midst of a storm while the wind and waves pressed against me and the sands shifted beneath my feet. I discovered how to love through the course of that nightmare – unconditionally, that is – because up until that year, no one had presented any conditions that I was required to love around. I learned how to fully trust the God who creates the light at the end of the tunnel, because throughout that year, I knew nothing but darkness. And if I could go back with the perspective I have now, I might be able to see the things that I missed. Perhaps my worst year would become my best year, but I guess we will never know.

The only thing I am left absolutely certain of is this: I don’t want to live my life stuck in the past, savoring the moment. I don’t want to get so caught up in a memory that I miss what is happening here and now. It’s like the old proverb says,

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery; but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.

So here’s my answer to my coworker’s silly question: This year, 2010, is the year I want to relive. And next year it will be 2011. And the year after that, 2012. My lesson learned (and encouragement to you) is this: Don’t walk around yearning to relive the best year of your life, but strive to make every year a year worth reliving.

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