Things I Learned

The years that we experience (and life itself) is like a great quilt, a patchwork of lessons learned and experiences gathered.

I decided to share this from my son, felt it would bless you.

Javon S. Legons

My wife warned me about doing one of those obnoxious end of the year/start of a new year recap lists that rattles off every event that happened in my life during 2022 (you know, the type of list that you roll your eyes at due to their forced self-importance and slightly arrogant tone). I can assure you, that this is not one of those lists – at least I don’t believe it to be. Instead, over the next two weeks I would love to share with you a few things that I learned, one specific thing that I was impacted by, and a few truths I wrestled with over the past year.

Let’s begin with a few things that I learned this past year. You can look at my last post nearly a month ago and review a more thorough outworking of this thought, but it is this: There is such a thing as ‘good grief’”. “Good Grief” is a pathway to a safe destination. I have come to believe that our emotions are similar to the warning lights in a vehicle; just as your car might alert you to “low tire pressure” or “check engine soon”, your emotions can be gauges that prompt you to turn to God for comfort or perhaps to dig deeper for the root of an issue before a complete breakdown. “Good Grief” can be the pathway to joy; it can be a pathway to remembrance. “Good Grief” reminds us that there is a future hope that is found in a place called “soon to be, but not yet”.

Something that impacted me

One other revelation that came to me this past year that I really had to sit with is this: “Sometimes the worst weight to carry is one that others don’t think is that heavy”. The language that I use around this truth cannot be as rosy as what I have written above regarding grief. I have found this statement to be true in my life and as I have observed the life of others. One thing that always makes the weight that someone is bearing feel heavier every single time is the minimizing of that weight by others. In companion to this thought, I have found that every single person that you meet is carrying a weight that you are often unaware of. This is true of the people that you work alongside, worship alongside, live alongside, and casually interact with as you order your food, pick up your coffee, and wait in long lines. I mention this point largely to say that each person is intimately aware of the weight that they carry in their own lives and usually woefully unaware of the weight any other person is bearing at any particular time (this is includes your strong friends and family members too, those that always seem to have their stuff together). Our best bet is to always extend the grace to others that we would love extended to ourselves.

I typically read quite a few books throughout the course of a calendar year, and this year was no different. While I read fewer books in 2022 than I did in 2021 (this was on purpose, I wanted to focus on reading slower for comprehension sake, also the Bible does say “of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body” – Ecclesiastes 12:12 – so I spent a little more time playing Xbox One this year), I likely still read a few more books than the average person because I LOVE to read. To be honest, I don’t do book recommendations as often as other avid readers but there is one book that I would encourage every person to read slowly and intentionally, and that book is “Everything Sad Is Untrue” by Daniel Nayeri. Perhaps because it was different than most other books I tend to read (I read a lot of leadership, discipleship/spiritual formation, and psychology/sociology books). This book is written in a memoir style by Daniel Nayeri, and from his perspective as an Iranian refugee to America, it details different events that happened in his life and the life of his Persian family as he experienced them. The writing was engaging and instructive in the kind of way that leads you to truly experience the world from the eyes of another person with a completely different frame of reference than your own. I cannot recommend this book enough; among 27 books read this past year “Everything Sad is Untrue” was the clear standout. Again, I would encourage everyone and anyone to add this to your reading list for this year if at all possible.