It’s hard to believe 2017 is half over already, but the turn of the calendar this morning shows July has arrived.

It doesn’t feel like it should be mid-year; weren’t we just celebrating New Year’s Eve? When I was a kid, my grandparents said time flew by quicker each year. I couldn’t relate then, but I can now.

Logically, our heads tell us the mere change to a new month does not make big differences in our lives. But humans tend to categorize according to time, or at least I do, anyway. And the more time passes, the more I associate years and events. In 2004, we got married; our daughter graduated from high school in 2014, etc.

So, how’s your year been so far? My sincere hope is the majority of your days have been happy.

I once wrote in this column that some years have all the answers while others ask the questions.

On quick review, my initial thought was 2017 has been neither. I certainly have nothing to complain about, and in fact, our family has experienced many blessings. But it’s easy to get caught up in daily challenges or down about things you can’t control. It can be disappointing when you or those you love face setbacks.

But after further reflection — and reading this morning’s mail — I decided I was wrong about 2017. It’s been a year of answers, but blinders prevented me from initially seeing it. Let me explain.

In January, many of us start the year with hopes and expectations. Regular readers may recall 2015 was my family’s “annus horribilis” (horrible year). We struggled through 12 months of death, illness and heartache. Then, in 2016, things started to look up. Our family was healthy and there were fresh, new opportunities.

My predictions for 2017 were mixed. Would it be more like 2015 or 2016; would it be a period of questions or answers?

Maybe your year so far has been like mine. Thankfully, there have been no tragedies or heartbreaks. I am grateful every single day for a healthy family, and my heart goes out to people who are suffering. Once your heart knows sorrow, it knows compassion, too.

But answers to other prayers have not always been what I expected. I’ve asked God for outcomes to everything from weight loss to my child’s future. His answers are what I need, but sometimes don’t understand.

I believe God has a good plan, and I just have to keep plugging away, but in the meantime, distractions can be draining. Do you know this feeling?

It’s those days — when you know you should be grateful, but you’re a bit worn out — that a helping hand or a kind word can lift your spirits. Sometimes you give it, sometimes you receive it. Often, a simple act of thoughtfulness is enough to recharge your energy.

Recently, my spirit was lifted by you.

Minor irritations were messing up my week. Delayed plans, wasted money and short-sighted decisions were weighing on my mind and ruining my outlook. I even yelled at the dog for barking too much.

And then I read the mail. Several readers took the time to send a comment, either on paper or email, about this weekly column. Saturday mornings are our time together, a few of you wrote, and you enjoy the connection.

You totally made my day. Your kindness was the cure I needed to shake off nagging worries and set my course straight.

The path to life’s answers is there in front of us; occasionally we have to examine it closer and ignore daily distractions. Life is not always easy, but it is always good and filled with blessings. Sometimes, it just takes a little help from our friends to remember it.


Contact Susan Hazlett at or write to her in care of The Pantagraph, 301 W. Washington St., Bloomington, IL 61702-2907.


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