Remembering a rough year

What is freedom when life begins again?
How does one measure the ways one lives life
after all you have loved is burned in strife?
Where are the sprouted seeds in the ashes?
Is life renewed when one walks down the path
through sleet, snow, rain, thunder, and burning sun?
Is it renewed when you start to have fun?
If so, perhaps the pain was a herald.
Does the heart revive as one strikes the bag
as thuds echo and skin begins to break
while blood, sweat, and tears fall as shoulders quake?
Was it life throbbing beneath the blisters?
Is it in awe from looking at one's work
and seeing hundreds of moments you cared
writing letters from the good heart you've bared
even as it mended from shattering?
Does life grow as the shutter shares moments
where eyes opened to see good in the world?
Even as the bad news whooshed, howled, and swirled
visions of goodness just kept giving life.
Is it in sermons, poems, or rambles?
Is life found in meetings, coffee, or work?
Is it where I laughed and shared a small smirk?
Is life found in all of these good places?
Okay, it was a hard year, but not bad.
I bent and swayed: my good soul did not break
through all of the storms I stretched out to take
a bit of my soul back from the abyss.
Now a new year is about to break forth
over a good land where I will survive
and at times even slowly start to thrive
as this phoenix rises on hopeful wings

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