I look back at 2017 with some ambivalence. For me personally, it was a difficult year in many ways. Good friends passed to the next life. Close family lost homes in the northern California fires. We still struggle with a move to an area we would rather not be. I still struggle with my friendships tied to my prior evangelical/fundamentalist (FG) life. It is still awkward. However, I also feel I am now being much more authentic and true to myself, than perhaps I ever have. I have been humbled in this last year—learning how the darker sides of myself still come to the fore too easily. I have also been encouraged, in that in some areas, I’ve seen personal breakthroughs I never thought I would see. Overall, I am at peace with this past year. If we were doing pass/fail, I give it a pass.
On a larger scale, nationally, politically, I can’t see the past year as anything other than a complete disaster. We seem to have lost our collective minds. The only positive I can take away is that it has birthed a resistance movement and made many thoughtful evangelicals re-think their allegiance to the Republican Party and, hopefully, Foxnews. Still, I give it an F.
Culturally, I saw some good movies and read some good books—ate some good food. The best three movies I saw were “The Lost City of Z” “The Big Sick” and “Wonder Woman.” Television, Netflix, gets increasingly better with shows like “Stranger Things.”
We welcomed a new grand-baby this year and the other three continue to bless me, make me laugh, and confound me–all at once.
I continue to be blessed by the fellowship, friendship, and discipleship I experience each Sunday evening with our merry band, my fellow travelers, my gypsies souls who meet on the bridge, betwixt and between, or out by the alley dumpster, as we take up together what Pastor Eugene Peterson calls the “Long obedience in the same direction…”
All in all, again, not a bad year in many ways. We are blessed. I will be thankful
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, so I have none to share. If you do, I wish you all the best as to keeping them (although I say that without hearing them; I’ve heard some I hoped the person broke immediately…life is too short people…live a little).
As I wish you all a Happy New Year, I know much of the country is experiencing an extremely cold winter. Here in sunny California, we have it pretty good. Still, even here, perhaps the cold winter is still present, left over from this past year, or from something else. Winter is both a season and a frame of mind. If it was/is a cold winter for you, in whichever form, I leave you with this wonderful poem by Jane Tyson Clement:
The dark emerging trees
from the new-winter wood
are lovelier than leaves,
as cold is also good.
The heart’s necessities
include the interlude
of frost-constricted peace
on which the sun can brood.
The strong and caustic air
that strikes us to the bone
blows till we see again
the weathered shape of home.
No season of the soul
strips clear the face of God
save cold and frozen wind
upon the frozen sod.