ALL the things in 2011

There’s something about the human condition that begs for reflection. Just as we are wired to seek God…to love…to dream, we also ponder things deeply. Blogs will surely be full of these year-in-review posts, some trite, some profoundly and achingly raw, and others funny.

Mine have been all of the above, and to be sure, could easily fit any of those categories again. It’s that human condition thing.

An end of the year examination of conscience sends me running for the confessional, and well it should…but I’m not inclined to expose myself in such a way here. Not because I haven’t already done so in snippets throughout the year, but because I’ve had a fundamental shift in my attitude. As Robert Frost said, that has made all the difference.

It’s been a year like any other year, wrought with loss and filled with blessings. What I never considered was the blessing to be found within the hurt.

I can’t refuse to love for fear of loss. I can’t refuse to try for fear of failure. And I can’t refuse to take the kinds of leaps of faith I’ve taken this year precisely because it cuts me off from God’s plan for me. It took me more than a minute to get that.

To live is to risk. The alternative, as they say, is not terribly appealing at the moment.

To risk opens us to failure and disappointment, but it also opens us to opportunities for growth and beautiful experiences.

I found this illumination in a rather simple little exercise: the #gratefultweet.  I’ve written about it before, here, but in a nutshell, it’s all about predisposing ourselves to see God’s merciful hand in all we do.

In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.  ~ 1 Thess: 18

It’s not easy. In fact, it’s pretty hard when we face difficult things such as the death of a loved one or a disappointment so profound it temporarily takes us down.

And yet, those are the moments when we really test our mettle as Christians. Are we going to be children of the light, as that chapter of Thessalonians reminds us, or are we going to let the allure of the darkness hold us in its grasp?

I’ve much to be grateful for this year. Some of it is pretty heavy, and some of it is light and playful, but all of it, all the things for which I am grateful, have brought me closer to God, and that has been worth every tear and every smile.

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