Sunday, January 3, 2010

Here's to you, Aughts

In a decade, I've graduated from high school and college, and begun graduate school (ha - never thought I'd be saying that!) I've held 8 different jobs, I've moved like 15 times, I have moved back in and then back out of my parents house. I earned my CPA license. I've fallen in love 4 or 5 times. I've had my heart broken. I made three "forever" type friends. I quit a "dream" job to pursue a different kind of dream. I purchased and a car and paid it off. I crossed the Pacific ocean six times. I joined a band. I spent 5 summers at summer camps. I spent at least part of every one of those ten years in ministry with youth. I watched my sister survive an intense surgery and bravely battle emotional demons I can only attempt to imagine. I lost a grandmother and watched Alheimers claim my grandfather. My faith has gone through the ringer and gone through again, and has come out in tact with stronger, more flexible edges.

What does the next decade hold? Only a few items on the above list would have made my "ten-year-plan" as a seventeen year-old ringing in the new Millennium. Shouldn't I know better than to try and plan the next ten years? I think I mostly do. My list of desires and hopes is shorter, more general: I'd like to fall in love and have a family. I'd like to become a pastor or a missionary or a part-time minister of some sort and use my seminary degree in some way. I'd like to continue to travel but I'd also like to put down roots in a community and stay in one spot. Other than that? I want to live a life that honors the one who gave it to me.

All in all, 2009 wasn't exactly a "top of the list" year for me, though looking back a lot of good came out of it. A lot of rough things happened to. But to take the good and forget the bad cheats me out of both a greater appreciation for the times that are good, and allows me to forget that the time I spend in this world is NOT supposed to be perfect. I cannot try so hard to create a perfect life for myself that I forget that joy does not depend on life's circumstances, good or otherwise. My dependence belongs on something much more steadfast, much more reliable than something that can change faster than the wind. My friend Anthony's death this December while climbing on Mt. Hood was quite a shocking reminder of that. Anything I cling to in this life will disappear, change, or disappoint.

So, where does the ultimate steadiness come from? God does not change, disappear, or disappoint, though sometimes He seems to. I have no assurance that anything circumstantial in the coming decades will improve upon the one I just lived. Hell, I have no assurance that I will live through the coming decades. Change (in people, jobs, families, friends) is a reality of life - I would never try to downplay its effect on me. But if I can't hold on to something that does not change, something that is always true no matter what happens around me, no hope is in sight. So this New Year, I am thankful for a God who does not change. I am prayerful that my joy, my constant will always be with that God.

So here's to you, decade of the Aughts. You brought me a lot more than your namesake might suggest. May I now have the grace to look forward and not behind and live the Tens more vibrantly, fearlessly and lovingly because of what I have learned from you.

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