It's not right, I don't think, to say that I'm turning over a new leaf. To my ears, that implies that I'm going to become, or live, or be something else, other than what I actually am. And I don't want that. For all the ups and downs of 2006, I don't want 2007 to be a year where I am someone other than who I am or was. Rather, I will say that I am turning over another leaf. Revealing, learning and becoming another layer of my person and my being, another facet of my personality, another development of me.
I stopped making resolutions long ago. In recent years, I've started to state hopes. They're easier to hold onto (most of the time), and they make me acknowledge that my life is not written by me, about me, for me. Hoping turns my eyes, even when they don't want to be turned, towards God, and makes me talk to Him, even when I'm feeling surly on my end. And hope, by His grace, is often transformed into joy, sometimes muted, sometimes transcendent, sometimes explosive, mostly inexplicable. Right now, just hours from another turning of the calendar, my hopes are weak and wobbly, and there's not much firm footing to be found no matter where I look around me. But the joy transformation is proven and true, and so I wait for it anyway.
Thus, in faith, for the coming year, I hope for:
- - sustained good health for Gran
- safety and health for Omma and Appa
- protection over Cheech
- continued revitalization at NHF
- further deepening and intimacy in my friendships
- peace with B
- focus, diligence and determination
- increased faith
- a community understanding of and hate towards poverty, warfare, injustice, and the armor with which to fight these evils
- the ability to fulfill my promise to live all out for God
Just a little bit from now, I'm on a plane to Ukraine to serve with six others from NHF at a local church in the middle of that country. Just for ten days; I'll be back before you know it. This trip fills me with trepidation, not because I'm going to a foreign country where I barely know the language and where it's going to be soooo cold -- seriously, who goes to the middle of Ukraine voluntarily in the dead of winter?! I'm not afraid of the traveling or the complicated logistics, the busy schedule or the unfamiliar cuisine, the work we have to do or the the possibility that our work will be fruitless. I'm afraid of me, and how I'll be, that I'll be useless, ineffective, not the ambassador of Christ that He envisioned when He sent out the faithful. I'm afraid of getting sick in my body and wearying the team for having to take care of me, or of getting sick in my mind and confusing the team who has no idea how to take care of me. I'm afraid of letting down my team and my God. After what He has been bringing me through in these last weeks and months, I can't even begin to describe what it has taken me not to pull out of this trip, to hand over leadership of the team and hibernate in my bed for the next two weeks.
But no, hope doesn't go to sleep, or succumb, for that is not hope at all. Hope speaks the truth, and in the spaces between speech, hope allows for grace and humility to seep in and teach wisdom. So I wait, too, for that wisdom, placing my trust in God alone, and in the compassion of His people.
Happy New Year. May His grace and wisdom seep into you throughout 2007, and give strength to your hopes.