The tree sags behind me, as I sit at my writing desk. This room was cleaner a few weeks ago, but now the needles from the tree and a few stray ornaments litter the floor. A set of watercolors lays cracking, abandoned on the kids table. A lone slipper and a math book keep company under the tree. Next to me, lies a mostly used sheet of stamps, bought for the specific purpose of mailing Christmas cards, which in the end, went out on December 26 followed by a few more stragglers on the 30th.
My workspace feels suddenly crowded with deadlines, and stacks that need tending too, but for all this clutter and crowding, there’s an emptiness that groans.
The new year opens her hand while expectation builds for what it will be. But we wake to each new day with the same crows feet marching out to our temples and perhaps a couple of new gray hairs waving straight up from the part of our hair, right there in the front, like some showy parade of age.
It’s glory’s crown, you remind yourself. That’s a dignified silver streak blooming, that is. Hard earned.
We already feel the guilt of our resolution mishaps, the seconds of dinner we swore off on the eve of December 31. Quietly, we’re wondering how we’re going to keep going, when we haven’t come as far as we’d hoped by now.
The old dog curls and stretches behind me. His sighs and groans remind me that life is finite. He’s as old as he acts, and we all know he’s snoozing through the final leg of his life.
Looking around it’s tempting to see only the mess and the broken down. Clutter has a knack for choking out joy, for threatening to wring hope by the neck. The failures and fumbles of the past are not easily forgotten and yes, we will keep on aging–inching our way to glory.
The afternoon sun refuse to show her face so I turn my back to the window, I bang out words and remind myself that despite the silver threads weaving their way in, despite the mess on the floor and the trail of needles, these moments are silver-lined. The beauty of moving forward is not held back by physical bondage, but rather by a heart unwilling to beat in the face of disappointment and disillusion.
We can move forward this year, because growth is a soul process. We can start over every single minute when we surrender every minute to the One who makes time.
The mess, the deadlines, the clutter and the aging dog–it’s all a gift.
The children who squabble and resist discipline, the shallow bottom of the bank account, the extra padding around the middle–none of these things are an anchor to moving forward in the new year.
We’ll keep going because that’s what Easter people do–they go because they have hope that’s not tied to things of this world. And hope does not disappoint us.
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5