Two Ways to Appreciate the New Year

There are at least two ways to appreciate the new year.

Most of us do it looking forward.  We focus on the calendar.  The year turns over like a car’s odometer.  Another 10,000 miles.   But, instead, it’s a new year:  2008 flips 2009 .   It’s an excuse to party… as well as, to wonder.  What will 2009 bring?

I’m a little more introspective.  Maybe I’m just a little more cynical….or a little more romantic, in the classic sense. For me, the new year is measured by looking back.  I’m interested in where I’ve been.

2008 was an eventful year.   We began 2008 with Margo on a 90 day medical leave.   She had spent a month in the hospital and two times in the ICU.  For a while, I didn’t know how or if she would leave.

I also accepted a call.  I went back into ministry.  After five years as a stay-at-home dad, Katy and Kenzlee were finally in school full-time.  For the first time in years, I had much of my day available to work on doctoral studies and commit to the church.  It’s been a wonderful roller-coaster ride of celebrations, challenges, and learning.   So many measure themselves with success or failure.  I know the challenge in ministry is how to love one another, keep faith, and survive.

I finished my doctoral exams in 2008.  Next year, my focus will be on writing my dissertation.  I plan to write on current work being done in theology and economics.  I’m interested in the question of property.  No matter how dated, my thesis involves asking Marxist questions without pointing to Marxist solutions.  I’m actually looking forward to writing it.

Most of all, though, my heart is most concerned for Katy and Kenzlee.  With them, my attention is most focused on the future.  What will 2009 hold for them?  They face different challenges growing up in the city.  Their days are filled with friends and school, homework and after-school activities.  On the weekends, they accompany me to different churches, often ones without Sunday School.  What will they learn about life this year?  What new thing will they fall in love with in their onging development?  What memories will we create as a family?

Is there any way I can be what I need to be for them?  And for the church?  And for Margo?  And in my doctoral studies?

God, like last year, walk with me.

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3 responses to “Two Ways to Appreciate the New Year

  1. I like your reflection Matt – I too find myself looking back at the year in a sort of prayer-of-examen type of way. When someone asked me the other day what my new year’s resolution was, I hadn’t even thought of one! Still haven’t! Probably the same resolution I make every day: trust the chaos, trust God, and live.

  2. Shannon,

    “trust the chaos, trust God, and live” Sometimes I wonder what choice I have. I often wonder if my experience is unique as a Gen Xer, of if everyone has to trust in the chaos as much as I seem to have to. I imagine, both are true.

    Blessings to you…always
    Matt

  3. It is so good to hear from you. I also have been looking over my life, not just the last year, but several. Amber and her two children moved back in with me a little over a year and a half ago. I find myself helping a lot with my grandchildren and loving it for the most part. It is an adjustment after being alone for a while. However, I am continuing to trust in God to lead me on the path He wants me to take…and love the heck out of my children and grandchildren. They are so little for so short a time. I too am asking God, please continue to walk with me and guide me in your ways. I also am praying for the world in whole. We all need it!

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