In reflecting on the upcoming one-year anniversary of mosthopeful.com on August 23, I’m throwing some of the posts that readers have looked at the most back into the mix. Thanks for allowing me the space. It’s been a most humbling experience. This post is especially important to me, as it was a moment of honoring the pain and struggle of the year before, and then celebrating––in advance––what waited in the year ahead.
There were conversations that evening about how we would learn from the ridiculous pains and struggles of the year, and move toward the kingdom with new insight, and new scars, into the future.
A few weeks after that party (talked about below), I was sitting with in Stellenbosch with some of my favorite people in all the world, and I began talking with a friend from London, living and working in Cape Town, about how victories and happy memories are honored with parties thrown and anniversaries given, but the painful experiences and struggles are only valued once we come up with “reasons” for why they happened.
She mentioned, feet in the chilly water at a campsite in Stellenbosch, that we ought honor the painful landmarks in our history as well as the ones we naturally celebrate. The party thrown at the beginning of this year was an opportunity to celebrate and to mourn what had been, and to look with great expectation toward the future, knowing that God is working through his people in his world toward the kingdom.
So, another top-viewed post from the archives…
It is with great joy that I enter 2012.
2011 was filled with pain, loss, struggle, sadness, anxiety, and anger.
The year overall was one of seeing the best of circumstances end up as the worst of possible outcomes.
And yet through each season and struggle, there has been tearful laughter, growing community, deeper honesty, brave introspection, and tenuous hope.
And it all feels a little closer to the truth. A little closer to telling the truth.
To the part of all of us that tries to close our eyes to what we know the painful truth is sometimes.
There are times when everything in me wants to arrange my circumstances in ways that hope for the best; those same times, if I were being honest with myself and those around me, I would instead be anticipating the worst. Before this year, I think I’ve tried to push everything, no matter the truth, into a single season.
As if allowing ONLY a season for birth, and then trying to translate death into birth in order to make sense of it.
As if allowing ONLY a season for building, and then trying to add on to things that needed only to be torn all the way down.
As if allowing ONLY a season for embracing, and then awkwardly trying to embrace when I should have refrained from doing so.
As if allowing ONLY a season for speaking out, and then trying to explain why I couldn’t be silent if I had wanted to.
The pain of 2011 has made important room for fall and winter. There is a need and space for dying, for tearing down, for refraining from embrace, for remaining silent. A season for these things.
And in the spaces made from telling the truth about our winters, spring comes on the heels. The ground is made soft, the legs become limber, the imagination becomes ready, and things begin to take root, people begin to dance and build again.
And so here’s to the new year, filled with possibilities for both celebration and mourning. Life and death. Dancing and weeping. Building and tearing down.
And an insistence on the holiness of both––on telling the truth about both–to ourselves and others.
For everything there is season.
Pine Tree Dr.