This will be the last post of the year, and I’m thinking back on the year, while looking forward. I totally recognize that everything I write at this time of year shares a common thread. This is no surprise, here or anywhere (I am by no means unique in this – every post anywhere shares this common thread.) It’s a natural transition.
Often times, circumstances coerce us to move, our situations force us to turn. Something has to, we only change when that pain becomes larger and hurts more than the pain of staying the same. Though it doesn’t always feel like it, it’s mostly a necessary, positive step and will usually leave us better than we were before. The big problem with this sort of transformation is that it’s an individual, lonely journey. Yes, if we’ve been blessed and intentional with that blessing, we have a community to hold us up, but they cannot know where we are in the deepest parts of us. That’s why the first step is so frightening and intimidating, it is one that feels as if we take it alone. (We aren’t, of course, but it certainly seems like it’s totally in the dark.)
This time of year is abnormal because we all stand in the same dark space with the same invitation in our hands. Who were we, who are we, and who will we become?
It’s an invitation that confronts our beliefs about what is possible.
Even the characters in the Big Story we tell around Christmastime were given the same invitation. I wonder if there were others that said “no” or “I can’t,” or “what if You’re wrong,” before Zechariah and Elizabeth received their angelic visit. We know Abram’s father, Terah, had the opportunity to “GO,” which he refused, before Abram was given his call. They were all faced with the same choice we are, will this be a space where we say “Yes?” The five we read about (Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Himself) all answered; this was the life they said yes to.
Can we say the same? Is this the life we said yes to? Is it the one we will continue to say yes to? Or is it simply the one we have?
As Patricia beautifully phrased in Saturday’s retreat, “We are invited to giving birth to all that can be.” We spend so much time at the Bridge (because the Bible spends so much time) discussing the vital role imagination plays in faith, hope and love (“but the greatest of these is love”;) Will we have the courage to be so vulnerable to dream of something different, something new? Faith is the assurance of things we can’t see – that takes God-breathed imagination. So, will we? Or is it just what it is, what it has always been? Is this just the way I am, and will always be? What keeps us from answering that invitation to give birth to all that can be?
Yes, we’re scared to fail, to fall, but you understand by now, we’re also terrified to shine & fly. I don’t know what the Bridge can be, I don’t know what I can be, but I do know I’m beginning to get more and more comfortable to the idea of finding out. I’m absolutely convinced we all have a divine call that is our own (in addition to the command to Love God & each other, and The Great Commission.) Maybe this year we would hear it. Maybe we already have, we’re just been full of reasons why we might have been mistaken in what we heard. Who knows? I just know we’re in this together, “let’s take this one step at a time, I’ll hold your hand if you hold mine,” so this year, let’s agree to be open to the possibility. After all, this Christmas story begins with a baby (!!!) and ends with an empty tomb (!!!!!!!!!!!), so maybe our wildest dreams aren’t big and amazing enough for this kind of God.
So, my brothers & sisters, have a truly joyful New Year.