The Bright Side: A 2023 reflection

Published 11:18 am Saturday, December 30, 2023

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This year was one for the books. In reflecting about 2023, I wrote down a few things I hope to look back on 10, 20, 30 years and find comfort in. I’ll share those with you in a moment.

Recently, I’ve found myself caught up in a mental storm, not sure if I’ll ever see the end product of the goals I have in mind. There are a lot of goals I have for next year, some of which seem impossible to achieve at this current moment in time. The good news is that I don’t have to reach them alone; none of us do. One of my biggest takeaways from this year is that strength can be found in even the darkest moments of our lives, if only we look up. God reminded me of this today, as I watched the sound churn and felt the wind whistle in my ear. When we’re in the midst of such a storm, we must simply go to the only one who can calm it.

In January, I learned that goodness awaits us at our doorstep every day. We must try to not be too busy looking ahead to see it. February taught me that God always listens, we just have to trust that He heard us. March showed me that miracles happen every single day. In April, I learned that quiet confidence will slowly but surely give way to less self-deprecation and more self-worth. May helped me see how crucial it is to seek guidance instead of dwelling in what-ifs. June showed me that it’s okay to loosen the knots we have tied around ourselves and just breathe. July made it clear to me that loving someone entails seeing them for everything that they really are, and not who we want them to be. In August, I learned that what darkness uses to destroy us, God uses to glorify Him. September reminded me that time is not something to take for granted. October taught me that grace is the greatest gift we can both give and receive. November was eager to show me that prayer can change everything. And this December I learned that I have a lot to learn.

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I’ve had almost 28 years of lessons and learning and yet I feel as though I am still a child who needs guidance, reassurance and the reminder every now and again that things will be okay. In seeking the truth, I’ve come to find that the answer to everything is already embedded in my soul. It has been since my very first breath. That doesn’t mean that each day won’t pose its own set of challenges to overcome in order to keep that truth at the forefront of our minds. It doesn’t mean we won’t let doubt and fear creep into the parts of us that know all too well who was there all along to pick us up when we were at our weakest. It means we are human. We’re not perfect, and we will never be. And that’s okay. The greatest thing I have learned in 2023 is that Yahweh has been there every step of the way, and He always will be.

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at