A New Year starts. The last one was tough in some ways, and a joy in others – battling with anxiety/depression/stress early in the year which led to missing Easter with my Congregations – that is consigned to the “definately not fun” box for recent history. Other good things have been present, and the return to near enough full health has been lived out, especially over the Christmas period. The big stress (in addition to all the usual seasonal ones of madly running from service to service and managing to fit in family time and Christmas Shopping) was how well I would cope with it all – i think a part of me was watching and waiting in morbid anticipation of a return to the anxieties of 10 months ago. (and I suspect I’m not the only one!) not a glimpse of the deep anxiety – tiredness yes, stress yes, but nothing to be worried about or feared, just the normal busyness and madness of life. All was well, as Julian of Norwich would state. (despite my voice threatening to run away to warmer climes….)
Another new decade as well – unless you’re a purist of course, in which case we have another year to go. 10 years since the hullaballoo of the new millenium, and the “naughties” were a bit of a damp squib to be honest. A decade lived mostly in fear, watching over our shoulders and judging the “otherness” of cultures and people to be evil. An Axis identified by a president more bonkers than me, a war we were lied and led into by a PM wanting to impress his big cousin over the water, reality tv rising to supremacy giving all who wanted that shot at their 15 mins (or 2 minutes as an audition on x-factor) of fame. Growing intolerance and ignorance of cultures and faiths, adding to the cycle of fear. Even in the church, all fuss about sexuality and covenants, while at the same time ignorning our obligations in the Millenium development goals, human rights in Sudan and Zimbabwe (to name but 2 places) education & poverty in others. For the church more of a backfiring damp squib! I wish the hieraarchy would get its act together and deal with the really important stuff, rather than tear itself apart over stuff Jesus never mentioned….ho hum, i can dream.
There’s been some good stuff in the decade on a personal note – ordination, marriage, visiting Moscow for Big Brothers wedding, the addition to the family of nieces and nephews of varying colours and cultures (but sadly no little chezzie cousins for them), and expansion of general geekery and gadgetry in the Chezzie rectory.
The year, and the decade, ended not with a bang but with a whimper, and a tear or 2 for good friends losing people they loved, candles are lit and prayers being said, this week especially for the families of John and Faith as they are laid to rest.
The clock ticks, the bells chime, and we move forward. The biggest thing about the new year for me is that it marks not only the end of a 365 day 4 season cycle, but a time in which lives have been lived, love has been found, lost, shared, people have rejoiced and cried, hoped and dreamed. Long may that continue, and may we continue to pray, react, reflect, rejoice and shout for justice and grace in all of it. Whatever comes your way in the year and decade to come, I wish you peace, love and grace.