May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
You know the old saying, “Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out?” It is usually said in a case where there is a disagreement and one person walks off in a huff. I know years don’t have emotions, but it sure seems like 2019 has been mad at me. As others may celebrate today, I will be holding a broom and swishing the old year out while hoping that the screen door sends it flying far away. To say that the last year has been difficult is an understatement. While I know it could have been worse, and we frequently told ourselves so, I don’t see how it could have been much worse. Within our immediate family, since March, there have been 7 hospital stays, 1 emergency room visit and 3 outpatient surgeries. Even my dog, Cory, had to go to the Animal ER. The year strained us almost beyond our limits. In some cases, it pulled us closer together, but for the most part, we were barely hanging on by our fingernails. While my brain tells me that 2020 won’t be an instant improvement, I sure hope it doesn’t continue the downward spiral of its predecessor. Two authors really helped me to get through this year. Kate Bowler and her podcasts, “Everything Happens,” and Sarah Bessey and her blogs and book, “Miracles and Other Reasonable Things.” Both women helped me get over my long held belief, which was already on shaky ground, that everything happens for a reason. That God intervenes and raises some people up while standing aside and allowing others to sink. That good comes out of everything bad: some redemption, a new way of thinking, characters refined, reconciliation. It was such a relief to hear two others (and those who commented and supported their teaching) that no, that’s not the way the world turns. Somehow, without giving up the theology that God is all powerful, I can reconcile myself to the truth that things don’t happen for a reason. Things happen because they happen. Because of the world we live in, because of the choices of others around us, because of the chaos and confusion of this earth. No one, not me, not God, not anyone is to blame. I think to myself in the tone Popeye used to speak when he said, “I Yam What I Yam,” “It is what it is.” But, I don’t intend this post to be fatalistic, “let’s all just give up and die.” No, instead, knowing that the world turns in ways I don’t understand and that don’t make sense, makes the fact that I can still hope a greater miracle. I don’t know what 2020 will hold. I have plans, plans that could come apart as quickly as the spider’s web I dust off my ceiling fan. I still look for good. I still look for miracles. I still hope. God makes that hope possible. 2020, I’ve got plans for you! Adios, 2019!