“Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
I’m standing at the end of my Jesus year with my toes hanging over the ledge. I’m standing in a position that is the reality of everyone alive-a vast unknown ahead and a life we cannot control. It looks like it could be beautiful, it’s a more sturdy and steady vastness than I’ve experienced in the past, but this year has a combination of sadness and blasted hope that accompanies it.
This past year, 33-aka my Jesus year, was really tumultuous when it came to my personal life and romantic relationships. It’s hard to believe that I entered into with the high of love and a few days later the crush of heartbreak. And that seemed to be a theme that continued…hope and hope lost. Romantic relationships aside, lots of things just didn’t go my way this year. My health journey staggered, mentors and people I connected with in my role as pastor died, and I had a lot more growing up to do, which was just frustrating to no end. 🙂
I survived those things by intentionally giving thanks every day this year. I kept a journal and drew or wrote down 3 things every day that I was thankful for. It was a good practice for me. Some days I had so many things I wanted to write down and tried to limit it to three top things. Some days, coming up with 3 things that I was genuinely grateful for was difficult. I didn’t just want to write down things I SHOULD be thankful for… I wanted to reflect at the end of each day and write down what I was genuinely grateful for…and I think that made all the difference on the days where I was struggling.
What I discovered is that hope dominates my life. I discovered that heartwarming beauty can be found in the brilliance of a coral rose or the spontaneous hug and pat on the back from an 18-month old child. It’s found in the phone call from your sister telling you that a new niece has been born and that she has “so much hair.” Beauty comes from a worship service where people are genuinely glad you are there as one of the pastors; it is when you are anointed with oil by a mentor and friend whose history and story is deep in the Asian American community.
It was also not lost on me that I spent the last few weeks of my Jesus year in the Holy Land, in Israel and Palestine, for the Mosaic of Peace Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference. I’m hoping to reflect more on this trip soon, but as I walked where Jesus walked while listening to heartbreaking stories of injustice and the courageous work of peace with justice, it was sobering to realize that Jesus and I were the same age.
By the way, I didn’t get crucified (although I do still have like another day to go), but because I’m nerdy and love churchy themed related things, I have officially declared 34 my “Resurrection year.”
What does that mean for me?
I have no idea. 🙂
I do know that I want to continue to be intentional about a life of gratitude, but also to try new things and be more intentional about doing those things that bring me life. I give thanks for a calling and work that I love and feel called to do. I have a life that I am happy living right now. But I have definitely become complacent in my steady routine in many ways as well.
I just read this article by Glennon Doyle Melton about the meaning of true love, and I appreciated it SO much as a single person entering into another year as a single person. Her daughter asked her what true love was, and after giving it some thought, she replied in this way:
I told my girls that as human beings we need to fall in love—with life first, which is the greatest relationship they will ever have. I explained that True Love is a decision some people make to trust, to always look for the good, and to consider every failure or distressing experience a necessary part of the journey. They don’t expect a prince to whisk them away because they don’t want to be whisked anywhere. And they don’t lie down and go to sleep. They stay awake and engage because they believe that life is ultimately on their side, even when it causes pain.
You can read the full blog post here: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/05/27/disney-princesses-meaning-true-love/
I loved this and will continue to reflect on it as I think about entering into another year of life. I want to continue to seek out the things that are life-giving to me so that I can live another year of life with intention, gratitude, loving and serving God and people, and living with blasted hope.