A New Year calls

I went for a long walk in High Park this morning to contemplate the year that has been, to just be present in the fading moments of 2020. I’ve read lots of posts on social media about saying good riddance to 2020, and lots of ways to ‘exorcise’ this unexpected and difficult year from our lives. But as I reflect back on each month of this year, I discover nothing to be rid of. I find so much to be grateful for, so much that caused suffering and disappointment, so much that was lacking in myself and the world around me, and so much that was right in myself and the world around me. Despite the difficulty of it all as a whole, I don’t want to be rid of any moment of this year because these are the moments that make me ‘me’ and you ‘you.’ These moments are what make us who we are.

There has been a lot to carry (and I’ve been a lot for others to carry!) in 2020, and no doubt there is still more carrying (and being carried) to come in 2021. I don’t want to end this year on a note that says “Get lost!” but rather, “It’s now time for you to go, thank you for your troubles and your gifts.”

And so, in my heart all day I have been saying my own farewell. And tonight, in our community, we will end the year with prayer and celebration. I end this post and this year (of relatively few blog posts) with a song we will sing tonight from Kate Rusby, whose music has been a faithful companion to me throughout the pandemic and no doubt, into the New Year.

May God bless us, keep us, and be love in us in 2021.

Addendum: this video was just posted on Facebook so check it out.

This Overflow

Tonight feels like the eve of a new season.

Not a season of nature – it’s not autumn yet – but a new season of discovery. I begin my final year of theology studies tomorrow. I will be off and running until April.

After the unusual spring and summer of covid-19, I am hoping this new season will bring with it a sense of stability (even as there are worries about a second wave). I cannot say normalcy because I don’t really want online learning to become normal. I already miss being together with my friends and classmates in person. Nevertheless, this new season, with all of its screen time, will bring a certain stability and routine, which I definitely appreciate.

What’s more, I begin this new season in a new space. A new community setting that is intercongregational, intercultural, and intergenerational. New and new and new. And also familiar, in a way. I love domestic life and I am grateful to be living again in a house where I can do domestic things like cooking, and cleaning, and even a bit of decorating.

We are blessed to live close to High Park and to the lakefront. Each day I go out for a walk along the water or among the trees, discover some new sight, and I feel restored and reconnected. Ready for whatever comes next.

And with this new season, I am turning again to poetry (after a spring and summer off) and I find Malcolm Guite (of course) says it so well and with such beauty, especially this excerpt from his poem Strange Surprise:

None of this need have happened, all of this,
These unexpected gifts, this overflow
Of things we know, and things we’ll never know,
None of this had to be, but here it is,
The here-and-now in all its strange surprise;
A space to be ourselves in, and a grace
That spins us round and turns us to the source
Whence all these gifts and graces still arise.