For many, 2016 in our rear view mirror sounds like reason enough to celebrate tonight with a beer…or 12…depending on who you are. For some, the loss of our favorite stars has brought some unresolved grief and other emotions to surface. We’ve faced our childhood icons dying and come to grips with our own mortality or we feel the loss of part of our days gone by. Those things can stir an entire subconscious we didn’t know was there. And, without proper reflection, we have no idea why we are so grieved, angry, or solemn.
For some of us, we lost loved ones or watched them suffer physically, mentally, or emotionally. The pain of watching a loved one suffer and being incapable of stopping or even easing that pain brings us into a world of our own pain. Some of us have fought the battle ourselves. Disease, depression, and personal loss have shook us to our core.
For some of us, politics has altered our lives. Between the NC House Bill 2, Gubernatorial races, and the race to the White House, we now live in a different nation than we thought. Some lost jobs. Some were outcast by churches, families, and long standing friendships. We have come to see just how divided we really are. Social media arguments, riots and protests have shown us just how deeply hurt we feel.
For some…we’ve experienced it all and more. And we’re tired.
So. Very. Tired.
So we look to one day. The tick of a clock from 11:59:59 to 12:00:00 to change it all. But guess what? As we arise from our bed in the morning tired from a late night (some hungover) and embark upon a new day, not much will have changed. Just the last number on the end of our year, anno domini.
I’m not out to bring gloom, for we can resolve ourselves each day to live with a newfound vigor and determination. However, expecting a new year to save you from your gloom is like expecting a person to save you from your mental illness. Facing the new day is facing the reality that you have the choice to truly live.
I walked my children to the playground in Swansboro today, about a 10 minute walk from my in-law’s home. The journey took at least 20 minutes as we stopped to pet the neighbors cat, play in leaves, pick up a stick for mommy (which is a most wonderful gift), jump over cracks in the road, gaze at bugs fearfully searching for the other side of the road, touch the bushes, talk about the Christmas decorations, hold hands and run, brush off and kiss boo boos from falling down because we ran too fast for the shortest legs, point out clouds….. I think you get the point. All the while, they knew where we were headed. The fun playground. But for them, the journey was just as important (read: fun) as the destination. Everything along the way was meaningful and important and contributed to the magic of ‘going to the playground’.
Believe me, I look forward to seeing a new year upon us and seeing 2017 as a year of possibilities. I’m just like the rest. However, I was reminded today that the journey is beautiful. Every step along the way, every bump and bruise, every twist in the road is simply a part of the beautiful journey.
Cue Heretical Biblical Insight:
Jesus had a way of making the journey much more important than the destination. His slow pace and ability to live in the moment were just the beginning. Inviting children to interrupt the adults so they could be blessed. Stopping to heal the leper, speak to the Samaritan, and invite himself to the home of a tax collector. Frequently searching for solitude to pray.
When the rich young man wanted to know how to inherit eternal life, Jesus challenged him to change his lifestyle to be more intentional in the present.
He challenged conventional thought about the Kingdom by describing it as
His proclamation of being the way, truth, and life was more about living than dying.
After his death, on the road to Damascus, he spent the journey with intention. Damascus wasn’t the end but simply a part of the journey.
In your pain. In your joy. In your day by day, minute by minute…
pet the neighbors cat, play in leaves, pick up a stick for mommy, jump over cracks in the road, gaze at bugs fearfully searching for the other side of the road, touch the bushes, talk about the Christmas decorations, hold hands and run, brush off and kiss boo boos from falling down because you ran too fast, point out clouds…..
May your journey be a journey
Happy New Year