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Rest and Reflect

There is much to reflect upon after this shocking year for many. I am sure there will be fingers to keyboards, and pens to paper writing out New Years Resolutions, goals, and lists of things to accomplish in the coming year that was derailed. Yet, if there was anything that I could take away from this year it is I could not have been shoved any deeper into a place of hiding with the Lord if I tried. I among others, I am sure, had dialogues with Him plenty of times asking if He forgot about us. Often, I feel like His “plane crash kid” or “mess up child" that He wanted to keep under wraps as much as possible to avoid an HR disaster. As if the years before were not years of refinement and hiding enough this one took the cake and left no crumbs behind it.

This year taught me a lot about the rawness of feeling hidden and the disappointments that come along with not being seen. It has taught us all the truth in the dignity of all human life and the importance of loving, forgiving, and living a life of grace and mercy. It gave us a newfound understanding and empathy to the pain of loneliness many of our elderly faces with or without a pandemic and the detriments of not having social interactions and physical touch from people who love and care about us. It taught us the value of relationships and community, the importance of small-businesses, scholastics, music, extracurricular clubs, and groups. It taught us the importance of being still and not running ourselves ragged. It has taught us that without health we have nothing and the importance of exercise, eating healthy, and the power of water, vitamins, and minerals! It taught us the importance of nature and the natural resources we have taken for grant it. It has taught us the joy our pets truly bring into our lives and how they love us unconditionally. It taught us the importance of family and friends. It taught us the importance of time and just like the alligator in Peter Pan, that life is unafraid to snap up our precious time whether we like it or not.

Patience is a virtue and so is understanding. We think we have to slam a steed on its back to get our way, but the lesson we learned is that it causes more damage than good to be forceful with our time and resources when we feel hidden, misunderstood, or unloved. This brought me to the conclusion that everything in life has a time and place and being hidden, misunderstood, and feeling unloved has a space in life. The key is it only takes a slight shift in focus to direct the sails of our lives. I no longer have a desire to have goals, to have timelines of when I think that things should happen, or how I think they should happen. I no longer care when or if I have a breakthrough or if I remain hidden for the rest of my life. It no longer matters if I have a penny to my name or a million of them. I just need enough to pay my bills and give back to those in need. What we place meaning on is only a fleeting thought that a year from now we will forget we had, so worry no longer has a purpose. And lastly, to ascend we must not bow to the shackles of man made delusions of what counts in life, but instead we must learn the art of shrinking and expanding with grace to create lasting transformation within ourselves.

To end our year I want to leave this scripture passage as a form of meditation. The first time I read it today it brought tears to my eyes. It was as though the clouds of heaven were parting and shining down on us as we continue to face both challenges in our lives. There truly is a time for everything and when we stop resisting we can spend more time being present and less energy trying to make life something it may never be. Life is a beautiful painful experience and when we learn to embrace it, it no longer will feel like we are constantly having to climb Mt. Everest, but instead, we get to enjoy it for both its challenging incline and grand magnificent landscape.

Ecclesiastes 3

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before, and God will call the past to account. And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment--wickedness was there, in the place of justice--wickedness was there. I thought in my heart, "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed.” I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?”

May God Bless you in the coming year. May the Prince of Peace be your guiding light, and may you find rest and confidence in His Holy and pure love for you. You were created for such a time as this and your life will never be measured in heaven by how many goals or resolutions you reached on earth, but rather you will be loved for the simple fact that you exist. Happy New Beginnings!

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