Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Emerging to a New Life

Beginnings and endings surround us on December 31. It's what we do, this year in review scrolling past anywhere we look.

Some send the old year out with glitter, bubbles and flashing lights. It's all about the flash, even if for a day. 

For others, it's more about the flashback, the reminder that things are not as we had expected. Forget the fireworks or watching the ball drop in Times Square. For some, each day is a painful reminder of how we've dropped the ball in our responsibilities, our relationships. 

We yearn for new beginnings.

We want to believe change is possible. 

Remember the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life?" We know how the story ends, yet millions tune in each year to see George Bailey's transformation. George's character debuted in 1946, nearly 70 years ago. How refreshing that popular culture still allows space to air the movie and call it relevant. But I suspect that clock is ticking on old George. What film is waiting in the wings to take its place and pick up the story for new generations?

 Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?                  

          ~ Clarence to George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life"

My mother says it slightly differently when asked about her life:

"I wouldn't change a thing. Because if you change one thing, you change everything."

So true.

Bidding farewell to a year sinking into history reminds me that I did not pen or type much upon these pages in Meditations in the Night Watch lately. I may make time to do more next year. I surely hope so, because doing so gives me the chance to explore and think and write from a place that needs exercising in my life. My soul needs exercising more than triceps or abs or anything else that fills the pages I am seeing in media  touting the importance of self-improvement in the new year.

Lists abound telling us the Best of 2014. More lists offer resolutions and solutions for 2015. One year is not done before the new one is already skewered and readied for improvement. Beginnings and endings keep turning around on the spit.

Beginnings and endings.....Birth and death. Whether we are ready or not, they keep coming.

I continue to be wonderstruck by the similarities shared by these seemingly-opposite life events. Perhaps human birth and death do not occupy opposing ends of a linear continuum as we often think. Perhaps that line arcs, bending gently into a circle of life. 

I think so.

2014 has brought the birth of precious ones in my life and has delivered many loved ones into 'the land of no more tears', as I read one brave dying woman call the end of life. It has been a great year, and I am grateful to have lived another one surrounded by family and friends. Most of all I am grateful for the Presence of God who loves with an everlasting love and holds fast the faithfulness we offer imperfectly. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for saving grace and abundant mercy you extend. 

In a world of changing times and rolling calendars, how good it is to count on the steadfastness of the love of God. Such an assurance gives confidence as we face a new day of life and death and life beyond death.

If your body is no longer serving you well, step out of it and go on with life.
~ Barbara Brown Taylor

Go on with life--Abundant Life.