This week 2013 commenced in my life with a colorful range of experiences and emotions. I agree with my friend Abigail who shared with me on New Years Eve, “My heart is full!”, for I was also in the midst of “heart-fullness” myself, though not all of mine was as joyful as that night.
Here are some treasured memories and hopeful thoughts from this last week that I’ve categorized Newness, Love, Failing Health, and Faith. These four experiences tugged at my emotions and heart longings in startling ways, and in many ways, are still.
Newness: Multiple new things are transpiring on the frontiers of my friends lives mostly involving career success, exciting living situations, and potential new relationships. New things in life are so exciting, they feel like we’re exploring a new unmapped region of the world and anything can happen. Being present in these exciting developments must serve some anthropological purpose because it was seriously pleasurable sharing in the anxious positivity together.
Love: I was given the insane privilege of serving as wedding officiant for one of my closest friends. Getting a front row seat at such a special and sacred moment is an opportunity I feel completely undeserving of. Furthermore, experiencing the covenantal precipice of joyous matrimony reminded me of how deeply I love my own wife and how grateful I am to be her husband. Love is a mysterious and unrivaled notion, only satiated by the love of God himself, from Whom our love stems and in Whom it finds its home. The love we encounter in this life is merely the echos of a far more grand, indescribable love, Whose origins are eternal and Whose scope is immeasurable. At 1 John says, “We love because he first loved us”.
Failing Health: At the other end of the experience spectrum was grief. Grief is often defined as a reaction to loss. One of my mentors often said, “to live well is to grieve well”. What he meant by this is that life is full of loss. Though life is filled with countless new experiences, it is also and ultimately filled with loss. We lose our hair, we lose our friends, we lose the game, we lose our youth, we lose our abilities, we lose our loved ones, we lose our time, and we watch others as they engage in the seemingly unfamiliar encounter of loss. For the past few years my family has encountered some loss, most recently my grandmother as her health slowly but surely goes away. Watching my parents respond with faithfulness and grief puts things into perspective in a way that words cannot. They say death is the great equalizer because it reminds us that we are finite and temporary. If failing health is a future most of us will experience, I hope we can take comfort in Christ who is thoroughly accustomed to death goes before us in our suffering and loss and who said, “if you lose your life for me, you will find it” (Matt 16:25).
Faith: One of the most commonly used movie clips to describe faith is this one. I know it’s a little cheesy but it provides great imagery to the faith journey. As we enter into a new year, there are some big steps of faith ahead for us. The first one is our organization Bridges Myanmar. The second is a dream we’ve had for years to plant a church. We don’t know what it will look like, or how it will happen, but we’re doing our best to be trusting in God as he leads us. As newness, love, and loss occupied my mind and heart this past week, I couldn’t help but sense that these will be important themes and patterns in the years and decades ahead. And even though this week contained both highs and lows, my heart was full. Faith for me this week means embracing the spectrum of experience, both the highs and the lows, and trusting in Gods presence as we step into the unknown.
What initial experiences shaped the beginning of your 2013? What areas in your life are you feeling challenged to step into? Faith? Uncertainty? Productivity?