Goodbye, 2016…

Exodus 14:13-14

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Unless you lived underneath a rock this year, you know that 2016 was a trying year!  So much STUFF happened this year…it is almost hard to believe that we actually lived through some of the things that we endured as a nation this past year.  For me personally, it is almost impossible to believe that I lived through the horror that I faced this year.  I am so glad to see 2016 coming to a close.

In 2016, we lived through a presidential campaign.  We saw people like Hilary Clinton, Dr. Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump throw their names in the hat as candidates for the next president of the United States.  Fortunately, for this nation, Barack Obama will be vacating the oval office on January 20, 2017.  We have lived through the trauma that he took us through over the past eight years:  forcing government-mandated healthcare down America’s throat;  patting Planned Parenthood on the back for the murder of babies in the womb;  shaming the state of North Carolina for voting that marriage is between one man and one woman; siding with the homosexuals to the point that he displayed the rainbow colors across the front of the White House, desecrating the symbol of America’s democratic society;  alienating us from the nation of Israel, declaring in his campaign speeches that America is a “Christian” nation, then changing his mind after he was elected, declaring that America is not a “Christian” nation; and spending time sticking his nose where it did not belong, like commenting on the death of Trayvon Martin, while doing nothing to alleviate the suffering of the people of places like Chicago at the hands of gangs and rogue police officers. However, I digress…

We endured the nastiest political campaign that I have witnessed in my lifetime.  We watched as Hilary Clinton was tried on Capitol Hill for allegedly misusing her personal email server by sending sensitive documents over it, risking those documents falling into the wrong hands, which they did, and causing the deaths of four Americans.  Of course, she lied her way out of any charges, and was allowed, under such a huge cloud of suspicion, to run for president.  It was my prayer and the prayers of many others, that she would not win.  Praise the LORD God that she did not.

We endured watching Hilary launch personal attacks against Donald Trump, and we watched Trump retaliate.  We endured the release of several recordings accusing Trump of making sexist remarks.  We watched gubernatorial races in several states take a nasty turn, not the least of which is the state of North Carolina, where the state senate and house is controlled by republicans, but the governor-elect is a democrat.  (Explain that one to me!)  North Carolina was one of only a handful of states where there were accusations of voter fraud, and my speculation is that there was indeed fraud if the house and senate are largely republican and the governor is a democrat.  However, I digress…

We watched as many things took place in the world of sports.  San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand during the pledge of allegiance.  He bowed on one knee in protest against abuses against Black people by police officers.  We watched the video of a young man from a college football team punching young lady in the face, breaking four bones.  The young man was supposedly “reprimanded” internally, and now he is preparing to enter the NFL draft, to be chosen to one of the 30 teams and make millions of dollars paid by adoring fans.  We read about a nine-year-old boy who was shot to death by his father’s rival gang members after being lured into an alley.  His death was in retaliation for something that his father did to the other gang.  We watched a football player die after a fender bender turned into a road rage incident, right in front of his wife.

We watched as many people that we felt we knew and loved died this year.  Zsa Zsa Gabor, famous socialite, died at age 99.  Alan Thicke, one of America’s most beloved dads, died at 69.  Florence Henderson, mom of tv’s “Brady Bunch”, died at 82.  Gordie Tapp, one of the musicians from the tv show “Hee Haw” died at 94.  Dr. Heimlich, creator of the Heimlich maneuver, died at 96.  Bernard Fox,  Dr. Bombay from tv’s “Bewitched” died at 89.  Joe Ligon, founder and lead singer of The Mighty Clouds of Joy, died at 80.  Sports journalist John Saunders died at 61.  Sports announcer Craig Sager died at 65.  Ron Glass, who played officer Ron Harris on the sitcom “Barney Miller” died at 71.  Janet Reno, the first female attorney general of the United States, died at age 78.  Tommy Ford, actor who was well known for his role on the sitcom “Martin”, died at 52.  Arnold Palmer, famous golfer, died at 87.  Jose Fernandez, baseball player, died at age 24 in a boating accident.  Bill Nunn, who played Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing”, died at 63.  Liesl, from “The Sound of Music”, Charmain Carr, died at 73.  Gene Wilder, famous actor who played Willie Wonka in “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, died at 83.  Tim LaHaye, evangelical minister and author of the “Left Behind” series, died at 90.  Garry Marshall, creator of “Happy Days”, died at 81.  Noel Neill, who portrayed Lois Lane on the tv version of “Superman” died at age 90.  Pat Summitt, coach of the women’s basketball team at University of Tennessee, who was also the winningest coach in college basketball, died at 64.  Kimbo Slice died at 42.  Muhammad Ali died at 74.  Morley Safer, legend of CBS News, died at age 84, a week and a day after retiring from his post of 46 years.  Prince died at 57.  Vanity died at 57.  Doris Roberts, the mom from “Everybody Loves Raymond” died at 90. Country music legend Merle Haggard died on his 79th birthday.  Patty Duke died at 69.  James Noble, the governor on the tv show “Benson” died at 94.  Garry Handling died at 66. Ken Howard, former basketball player turned actor, mostly remembered at the high school basketball coach on “The White Shadow” died at 71.  Larry Drake, Benny from “L.A. Law” died at 66.  Frank Sinatra, Jr. died at 72.  Nancy Reagan died at 94.  Actor George Kennedy died at 91.  Tony Burton from the “Rocky” franchise died at 78.  Harper Lee, author of “To Kill A Mockingbird” died at 89.  My longtime neighbor, Ann Harris, died at 73.  A dear and precious family friend, Nellie Williams, died at 91.  My father died at 73.

We endured one of the most challenging trials of all this year.  When I say “we”, I am referring to my children and myself.  We endured the loss of my marriage and any chance of a civil relationship between their father and me.  We endured numerous court appearances, we spent thousands of dollars in lawyers fees, we moved out of our home that we have loved for nearly 20 years, we moved to a new city and had to begin the adjustment of getting to know totally different surroundings.  It has been a challenging, heart breaking, depressing, sad, long, weary, hard, trying, difficult year.  I am glad to see it go.

I can only hope, for my sake and the sake of my children, that 2017 will be better.  I can only hope that the LORD will be merciful to us and show us His grace by giving us a break on the trials.  I mean, trials make you stronger, I understand; but I should be as strong as Andre the Giant by now!!!  I pray that the LORD will give us a few years reprieve on all the burdens and heartache that we have had to endure.

I hope that your 2017 will be better also.  Even if you had a good year in 2016, I hope the LORD will bless you and allow your good to be better.  May you prosper spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.  I pray that each day of your 2017 will be filled with love, laughter, and light.

I also hope that this year, 2017, Jesus will come….

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