Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year?

Jan 1, 2012

Dear friends,

According to my computer calendar, the new year managed to get started without any assistance from me. I feel quite pleased about the restful night’s sleep I experienced while this momentous event was occurring. I am not, however, the least surprised that this old world continued to turn without my supervision.

My viewpoint about the new year is, I’m afraid, irreparably contrarian.

I do not expect a radical reformation of character in which sins and shortcomings—my own or those of others—will disappear with the 2011 calendars. But I celebrate God’s grace and love, the utterly unchanging nature of His patient parenting, and His unfailing belief that we—He and I together—will do better, though not perfectly, in the months ahead. And I celebrate friends who, I trust, will continue to take me as I am in the year ahead in the belief that in our relationships we will do better, and, while we will certainly not become perfect, that, to borrow Rob Bell’s phrase, in the end that love will win.

I do not expect that the Great Muse of Blog-writers will descend upon me so that 2012will become The Year of Splendid Understandings and Brilliant Prose. But I anticipate gratefully that my friends will continue their patient attention to my effort to see life and say relationships more clearly, and that through their gracious responses I will in turn know more truth and say what I see with gentle wisdom.

I expect that as always the lilacs will bloom this spring, and their scent hang heavy in the spring rain. I may not be here to witness their persistent bravery, but I expect that the crocus and tulips will push their way through at least one spring snow. I expect that summer will bring high wind and hail, leaving broken blooms and tattered leaves on the ground. There will be broken tree limbs, their summer wealth of leaves dead long before autumn colors could mark their going in vivid celebration. There will be harvest and wonderful vine-ripened tomatoes in the August farmer’s market. They will grace someone’s dinner table, perhaps mine.

I think that life and end of life, that laughter and tears and love and hate will go on 2012 much as they have in the years through which I have come to this place. Much in this year to come will not be new, but will come to me in a new cycle of old things. I have a new window through which to look and see and understand, and—by God’s grace—to walk with love and wide-open eyes through the world He has given me to live.

Thinking with you that what may come may indeed be old, but that we can learn to see old things in new ways. This year I intend no effort to find new and novel things. I want to see the old lilacs with clearer vision. I want to cherish the life and relationships I have with greater care. I want to love with a more generous and careful heart.

See you next week.


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