Wednesday, January 1, 2014

reflections for the new year

I wish we could all enter the new year with a squeaky clean slate -- turn the page, embrace new habits, and leave the ugly of 2013 behind.

That's how it works, right?  We start fresh once the page of the calendar turns to January 1.  We're new people, the kind of people who are motivated to get fit, eat right, do better, be more loving, and conquer the world.  The past is behind us and we're moving forward.

I so wish that the turning of a calendar page could make us new.

But what we don't talk about on January 1 is that the old doesn't just go away when we turn the page; it follows us into the newness -- what we've done, who we've been, the joys and the sorrows, the things that have broken our hearts and crushed our souls.  These things are a part of us, a part of us that we carry in our arms and into the new year.

The page turns, and in my arms I carry joy -- the joy of growing closer to my runner-man through the trials of this past year, of learning how to be a better wife, of becoming much-better-friends with our neighbors, of turning our inner-city row-house into a home, of adopting our puppy-dog Madeira {the beast}, of watching the kids in the community make tough, god-honoring choices, of seeing so many of our closest friends become parents, of sharpening my voice as a writer.

The page turns, and in my arms I also carry sorrow -- the sorrow of remembering M {our first baby lost due to miscarriage}, of trying and trying and trying to conceive, of losing our second precious little baby to another miscarriage, of experiencing the kind-of-grief that never leaves your side, of hearing gun-shots at the end of our block that turned into homicide, of strained friendships that used-to-be, of one of my dearest friends moving away, of decisions that have flipped life-as-we-knew-it upside down.

A few years ago, my runner-man and I went with some friends to visit a city church-plant in Richmond, VA.  We sat around a table with one of the pastors and his family and talked about ministry, the mistakes we've made, and how to balance our commitments with family life.  Somewhere during this conversation, his adorable-adopted-son gave me this yellow thomas-the-tank-engine gummy bracelet with the words full steam ahead written on it.


I wear it when I need to be reminded that that life goes on despite all the twists and turns and heartaches -- that grief cannot conquer all -- that we can always turn the page and move forward -- that in my weakness, I am strong in Christ.

We can all move forward, full steam ahead, into the excitement of a new year.  But whether we invite it or not, the old is coming with us.  We will carry the joys and the sorrows in our arms and into the new.  If we let them, these things can teach us, and mold us, and give us perspective for the days ahead.

And as we press on, full steam ahead, the old will slowly {but surely} make us new.

happy new year.

1 comment:

  1. Love this, Shelly. Praying for an overflow of blessings for you and Chris this year. Thank you for sharing.

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