It is strange to me that we are already nearing the end of the month of January. Somehow, the end of last year slipped away when I wasn’t looking. Before I knew it, I was flying out on what has become an annual trip to Haiti to help run a day camp. That week and a half rushed past in a blur too—a blur of beautiful, laughing children’s faces, muddy feet, wet leaves, tramping up and down slopes, breathing in Haitian coffee in the early morning and letting the heat sear through the mug into my hands, and feeling the sun fall warm upon my face when the rain clouds broke at last.
Only a week and a half. And it is gone already. How I miss all those precious little ones. Their hands slipping into mine. Their giggles at my broken Creole. Their enthusiasm at each new game, and the sound of their voices chanting Bible verses in song as they moved from activity to activity. It has been less than a week since I waved “ourevwa” on my way down the road, but it already seems a world away.
Until next year.
January is often a time to look back at the year we left behind and to look forward to the year that lies ahead. It can come with some trepidation. A thousand possibilities can be frightening as well as exciting. The year is raw. The soil is fresh.
The air is heavy with hope.
With 2017, I know there will be countless challenges, obstacles, and painful passages that will force me to grow and learn and be renewed … and oddly enough, I am excited about it. How about you?
Last year, I started in on a series of posts – A Thousand Words, Live, Undaunted – that I very much enjoyed writing, although I didn’t get very far. I intend to carry on with the series, from time to time this year, as the mood strikes. As much as I am drawn to the idea of selecting one incredible word for the year, I can never seem to limit myself to just one. One word is not enough to encapsulate all of the adventures, challenges, and beauty that have come already, and that I hope are still to come in this year.
It is a beautiful word, is it not? A beautiful word for a beautiful thing. It is a candle in the night. An unblinking star high above the mist-shrouded world. A sprig of green bursting through snowbitten earth.
It is a thing of contrasts, both fragile and strong. And yet ultimately, transitory. So much of what we place our hope in and long for rests upon things beyond our control. Things that may be here today and gone tomorrow. Hope risks becoming as fleeting and ephemeral as a wish, unless it is rooted in something greater.
“God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for god to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:18-19a)
In Someone greater.
From a purely earthly point of view, the country of Haiti does not seem to offer much hope. And yet, there is a hope beyond the earthly, beyond the transient puff of dandelion wishes. There is a firm and secure hope that anchors the soul, offered through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And it is a beautiful thing, because in that hope is borne the death of fear, the release of chains, and the breath of new life.
Strengthened by this hope, I intend to venture forth gloriously into the wild unknown of this New Year.
Will you join me?