Gazing out the window of an aircraft can offer the most magnificent of perspectives. Looking back reveals the terrain that has already been traveled across in all its undulating, traversing intricacy. Valleys are apparent, river crossings are complete, distances from one point and to another are fairly clear.
Pondering the living of the past year can be approached from a similar perspective; spread it all out, look back for familiar markers, and consider the ground that has been traveled.
As I do so, a large swath of such a blanket of last year’s doings represents family. Mine is large and geographically far flung, desert to tropics, woodlands to prairies, nearly coast to coast, requiring a determined “get out there” and see them intention. Those multiple travels rendered tender days of crisp memories, deeply nourishing ties that had gone adrift for too long. Though the effort to reconnect with so many still extends into the new year, its encouraging to anticipate the renewal of each relationship.
Soul Space and Lunar Reality
Across the months of any year there are the shadows of darkness. Events that stun, circumstances that pull the air out of every sail. A backward glance at the past twelve months can’t ignore the hues of heaviness that we must learn to bear. There is much to be said about the understandings that were seared by the hurt and the capacity of endurance that was tested. However along side that level of learning, I garnered additional insight about the elements of darkness that are more benign, the ancient history of God’s presence there, the long lost value of being familiar with the dark. Barbara Brown Taylor writes of such wisdom in Learning to Walk in the Dark. Knowing darkness well, both as a soul space and a lunar reality, tempers fear.
Global View, Scriptural Compass
Increasingly as world dramas have ticker-taped their way across every screen and voices intone in decibels just below shrill screams, I have strived to imagine a global perspective, since presumably this is God’s perspective — of His world, His people, His cosmos. From the thinnest atmosphere, with the benefit of recorded history, and through the lens of scripture…that widest scope influences priorities and opinions.
The terrain of 2015 was as diverse as each of its predecessors, both personally and historically. As the phrase from A Tale of Two Cities declares, every era “is the worst of times and the best of times”. In any calendar year, it matters greatly what maps and lenses you use to guide your way.* * *
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