A New Year.
And we are still enduring this transition - of changing jobs and embarking on study-adventures.
Transition always brings hope.
But transition is also hard - like turning a ship or pushing a car back up a hill.
And honestly, the hard bits have got me down... way down - even in the freshness of the New Year. That way-down feeling made me forget a few things.
So I'm reminding myself today as I cover another hope-filled nugget from Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts
"But if we don't intentionally commit to the hard practice of seeing, don't we die in a barren wilderness? Anger, frustration, emptiness?"
"I either take this 'what is it?' manna with thanks, eat the mystery of the moment with trust, and am nourished another day - or refuse it...and die."
There really is no choice, when it comes down to it, but to simply live in gratitude and look for good in life every day.
What do we really want out of life? Yes, we want a better life. Sure, we want more money, achievement, a holiday, whatever...
But I know that what you truly want is joy - true joy, joy that stays.
Even Linus, when asked by Charlie Brown what he wants to be when he grows up, turns and says, very seriously: "Outrageously happy!"
Don't we all want this? And doesn't God want is for us even more than we do?
I believe this is possible.
But I find it easy to fall into negativity, focusing on all the struggles and "splatters of disappointment" in my life. It's easy to refuse to be grateful for anything, when I'm overwhelmed by trouble and lack. I have gotten to points where I even refuse consolation from others, because I am so fixated on the negative aspects of life - all the ugliness. But where has this landed me? There's nothing constructive in constant complaining or only ever looking at the problems and the pain. The result of this way of thinking is simply just more problems and pain - "Anger, frustration, emptiness". A vicious cycle really. A black, bottomless, aching hole.
But when I look at my life and accept that there are not always answers for the bad stuff "eat the mystery", thanking God anyway - for the good things, and continue to do this, I re-calibrate my mind. I learn to trust God again - with my whole heart. Honestly now, this finds me filled with a sense of peace and joy - an "outrageous happy". I feel like I can see above the storm clouds (and yes, they are always there) to a place of light and warmth and hope.
And I want that - everyday. I choose to want it. I choose "the hard practice of seeing" - seeing the good - even the ugly-beautiful. And I am filled. "nourished".