2016: The horrible year that may have gotten a bad wrap.

We made it y’all! We made it! With full awareness that 2016 was the celestial, figurative, political, and psychological manifestation of the grim reaper for so many people, I contemplated putting my entire family on lockdown for the entire month of December 2016. Kids. Husband. Momma. Daddy. Sisters. Brothers. Teddy bears. If I had it my way, no one would have left the house until the last second ticked off of the 2016 clock. As a woman of faith, I usually resist against being superstitious, but when you see a year take Prince, George Michaels, AND the last wholesome father figure from an 80’s sitcom (to not be caught in a sex scandal), you are forced to acknowledge that anything can happen at any moment.

And maybe that was the point that 2016 was trying to teach us?

I believe in God more than I can wrap my mind around the concept of heaven. And though death will never fully make sense to me, I always believed that some of us…or maybe all of us…or perhaps just the lucky amongst us, will have a choice when that time comes. I imagine God revealing the door to eternity, full of poolsides, 80 degree breezy weather, endless french macaroons, and outdoor music venues and saying “Look, not so bad, right?” Then behind the next door is life as we know it with its finite number of days, long lines at Starbucks, and the belief that we are better at managing our lives than He.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand why, if offered the choice, one would choose this side of heaven. I would certainly ask God if I could take a rain check and hop the first ‘soul jitney’ back to the south-side of Chicago to be with my family. However, in the strangest of ways, it gives me peace to know that someone like Prince (or David Bowie) who had surely feasted upon every carnal pleasure, looked through the gates of heaven and glanced back on his life of white doves, diamond encrusted guitars, and vegetarian foie gras and said, “Beam me up, Scottie.”

And in the most unexpected of ways, just as I was ready to bubble wrap my kids to keep them safe, 2016 whispered in my ear, “You have nothing to be afraid of.”

In life and in the death, you have nothing to be afraid of.

In the ways that really count, I believe that even in its times of collective confusion and strife, 2016 was a profoundly important year. It was like the universal moment when the world affirmed to itself, ‘We are going to lose weight/learn Spanish/take up yoga/go to South Africa/go to Le Cordon Bleu to become a French pastry check.’

In all its uncertainty, it proved that only thing we can ever know for sure are the blessings that we choose to recognize in the moment we are currently in. The graceful, yet fleeting, passing of time forces us to honor this moment because it was not afforded to so many.

Maybe, just maybe, in 2016 God said, I’m less concerned about making you happy and more concerned about making you holy…and way less neurotic.

2016 was a good year. Despite Donald Trump, let’s not forget that Black women became the standard barriers for excellence in 2016. Between Michelle Obama, Ava DuVernay, Voila Davis, Zendaya, Zim Ugochukwu, Amandla Stenberg, Luuvie Ajayi, and the Godmother of Melanin Goodness, Oprah, the world finally confessed what it secretly knew since its inception: That God is a woman with skin kissed by the sun, shoulders broad enough to carry the world, with the perfect balance of wisdom and attitude to keep everybody in line.

Or at least his momma is.

So thank you 2016. At times you were good and at times you hurt. You held absolutely nothing back but now…we won’t either.