So, another year is nearly over.
Do the years go by in the blink of an eye for you, Lord? Being outside time, what does it look like to you? Do you see us rushing about like ants? Always unaware of how much time we have left. Still searching, hurrying, trying to fit in all the things we want to fit in before some unknown deadline...
What a year it's been. I don't know whether to do a review of the year, or to look forward expectantly to the next one, or just have a bit of a ramble about New Year's Eves past and present - I guess I'll end up doing all of them, being a fairly introspective, slightly obsessive sort of person, but one thing has become clear to me over the course of this turbulent year and I wanted to run it past you.
I feel as if at the end of the year there should be some sort of momentous conclusion, some punchline, but there isn't, is there? It just sort of goes on.
The way that time is broken up into years is only our construct, isn't it? For you, regarding us, your creations, the span of time that matters is our lifetime; and that's only because you know how long that is. We don't. I don't honestly know if this coming year will be my last on earth or whether I'll still be here wittering away in another three or four decades. Perish the thought, hey?
Just as today ends and tomorrow begins whether there are fireworks and Big Ben strikes or not, the journey doesn't end because the year does.
Yes, we mark out our time with dates, festivals, hinges in a year so that we can stop momentarily, maybe; so that we can pause and get our breath back. Maybe that's it. Maybe we need to build in some things to look forward to. Maybe we need to reflect.
New Year is all about reflecting, it seems to me. It always makes me look back on a year and look forward to the new one. This time last year I was full of excitement and anticipation. I 'knew' that something was afoot - I sensed that you had something in store for me but naively I thought that it was something to do with 2011 and vaguely I thought that the something would be complete by the end of the year. Now, on 31 December, I can honestly say that I did know that something was afoot. I was right. Something was. You have a plan for me, and this year not only have I had the penny-dropping moment when I realised that it was so, but I have begun to take a couple of little tiny baby steps towards it, with your help. That might not sound like much of an achievement for a whole twelve-month period but, God, you know how momentous it's been for me!
So, yes, I am going to look back on my year and try to distil what I've learned from it. I'll do that because, as someone pointed out to me recently, I am a 'completer/finisher' or something like that and I am obsessed with details and I like things wrapped up. It has to be done properly. I will also look ahead to a completely new, as yet pristine year ahead and try to determine what of this year I want to take with me and what I'd like to leave behind in the smoke and debris of 2011.
What I want most to do, though, is learn how to pause more regularly. To stop and watch and listen and learn to hear you. To reflect on a daily basis (is that too ambitious?) - anyway, more often then just once a year.
I feel all smiley. Just thinking about the potential and the hope and the promise of going forward with you holding my hand and showing me where to go. This year has been hard but it's been wonderful and I want to go a bit further, please. You know what I'm capable of. Show me, so that I know too. Is that alright?
I want to praise you, Lord. For the snow and the blossom and for Easter and the sunshine and the seaside and the falling leaves and the Christmas story. For your constancy and ingenuity and beauty and mercy. I could go on and on.
Thankyou for the company we've had this evening. For fun and laughter and small children staying up beyond their bedtimes having had too much sugar. Thankyou for friendship and love and for the wonderful people you've arranged around me that teach me, inspire me, support me and care for me. It's a gift of such generosity and these people are so, so precious to me. Thankyou for my husband and a glass of champagne and a comfy sofa. I might not make it till midnight tonight but I will go to bed happy.
Thankyou for this year, Lord God. Thankyou that I survived it, that those I love are still around me and in pretty good health, and that you have never left my side; that you never, ever will. Thankyou for looking after me, for listening to me, for humouring me, for playing with me, for answering me, for loving me. For all the blessings that you've so generously given me. For all the glimpses and the revelations and the questions and the wonders.
Thankyou, my Father.
Here's to starting all over again, a bit further on, in a different place.