Putting my best foot forward for 2018. The only thing is, i really don’t know which is my best foot.
“Of all the things we do, we have more freedom with respect to what we will think of, where we will place our mind, than anything else. And the freedom of thinking is a direct freedom wherever it is present…..The deepest revelation of our character is what we choose to dwell on in thought, but constantly occupies our mind as well as what we can or cannot even think of.
~ Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy.
Ended the year snowshoeing in the back woods with my wife and a couple we have been longtime friends with. We spent a good number of new year celebrations together, though we missed a few while we were in West Africa the last six years. They have been a great enrichment to our lives.
My three sons, daughter-in-law, grand kids, and several of my sons friends also arrived at the house later on.
We were surrounded by family the whole Christmas season. It was a gift in many ways. We had a busy house. Just the way I like it.
Anyway, i don’t have any elegant words of my own to share. Once again the old year has ended and the new has begun, without my permission.
“Transformation usually includes a disconcerting reorientation……. Change of itself just happens; spiritual transformation is an active process of letting go, living in the confusing dark space for a while, and allowing yourself to be spit up on a new and unexpected shore.” ~ Richard Rohr
Here’s to being “Spit up” onto a new shore.
I do get melancholy at times, However, not overly melancholy about the past. I rarely let my mind dwell in the past for very long. I think we get to a stage in life where we realize our human fretting and wrestling assures little, secures little, and endures little. So I don’t pour much of the past into tomorrow because I’ve failed at so much. Most of us don’t shine. I’m one of those ordinary people and I excel at little.
“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Jesus
I enjoy the marriage, fatherhood, Africa, relationship, faith, and fishing experiences of today much more than the ones of five, ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago. I stopped being an ass somewhere in there (or as much of one).
“The ego doesn’t want to surrender….There is such freedom in no longer pretending to be something we’re not.” ~Richard Rohr
This year, my faith, marriage, family, and career require new wine. Truth is, they required it year after year, every year, for decades.
I’m putting my best foot forward. I’ll use both feet to assure i get the right one in the mix. Which means new wine, new wineskins. I’ll consider the new wineskin my left foot, the new wine as my right.
I hope the wine of unconditional kindness, love, mercy, grace and forgiveness flows freely out of the spout of this new wine skin, liberally slopping all over each and every person who comes across my path. I hope to wrap a towel around my ample waist (It will have to be one frigging big bath blanket these days) and serve this woman who chose to walk with me despite the stupidity of my youth. After 30 years of sticking to me, she deserves my undivided attention. I will serve my children, grandchildren, Africans, friends, aging parents (That is tough) and foe (Difficult too, but it is required as well).
Will you join me? Tell me your story of new wine.
“Yes,” I nod, desperately wanting to believe his words. “These are old problems,” he explains, pointing to our surroundings, “They existed before you came, and most of them will remain after you leave.” (Old man in Malawi said thus to Peace Corps worker Michael Buckler: From Microsoft To Malawi. Pg 75)