Happy New Year! On NYE, my husband and I spent some time reflecting on 2011 and dreaming for 2012. 2011 was, in many ways, a year of trials and tribulations for us. A year of disappointments, loss and having-to-persevere. I lost my job. Tim’s new job – the dream we had been working towards – fell apart. We were burgled and lost, amongst other things, the watch I gave Tim as a wedding present. The dark night of the soul hovered over both of us. Yet, as we wrote down our highlights and lowlights, we found there were more positives than negatives. Not because we were trying to be super-positive but, actually, because we remembered how much we had to be thankful for. Our holidays in Normandy and Jersey. Having an article published in the Guardian. Tim’s new course. The arrival of another nephew. To name just a few.
I ended the year profoundly thankful that, in the midst of the storms, there were oases of joy, peace and laughter. I ended the year committed to not-making-all-the-same-mistakes-again. The future is uncertain for us – we have to leave our home in August, Tim’s role in the church ends then. I still don’t have enough paid work. Money is tight. We cannot buy our way out of uncertainty. Yet trying-to-control-what-happens-next is no longer of interest to me. Last year, we tried to mould our own future. This year, we are, in essence, going to let the future (and the present) mould us. My hands are cupped around my ears now, rather than tightly on the controls. I am not abdicating all responsibility; rather I am trying to let someone else sit in the driving seat. And this is hard for me – I like to know what is happening (also known as being a control freak); I like a plan and I like it to be my plan. However, I have learnt – the hard way – that it’s better to allow my faith to drive my decision-making. Much better than relying on my decision-making. Much better to be open to the bigger picture; open to unexpected detours, new paths and divine possibilities. Much more exciting.
So, at the start of this New Year, why don’t you join me on the unknown path? You see, the reality is – none of us can control the future anyway. It doesn’t matter how rich/talented/beautiful/organised we are – we are still at the mercy of the uncontrollable, unknown future. We cannot organise our way out of possible failure; we cannot control our way to success (it’s all an illusion if you think otherwise!). We can only choose how we show up each day. We can only take small steps on the unknown path. We can only choose to walk this path with others (or on our own, if we prefer). We can only extend a hand to those who are in need as we walk. We can only get up when we fall over. Who knows where we may end up?