I suppose I’ve reached an age where the mind simply retains memories of triumphs and gratification and forgets the negative experiences and setbacks. Still, truly, this is a year where I felt a rise in gratitude and joy. It wasn’t all smooth sailing but I saw that the challenges were there for a purpose.
After two arduous years, I finally completed my part-time studies. Yes, it demanded much of me. I’ve heard of mothers complaining that their pregnancies robbed them of their memory. My part-time studies did the same to me. Although it was a struggle trying to focus and direct my energy and time towards my various commitments, I saw how much I could be stretched and the stretching produced grit in me. I am stronger than I thought I was.
Even so, I was more convicted that as a limited and definite creature, there’s only so much to which I could commit. A thought that stayed with me since a church camp is that I should invest my life and resources in things of eternal value. With that outlook, some of my present commitments seem unimportant and I thought of backing out. Yet, because of the sense of duty and obligation to people, I have chosen to stay with these commitments. Such choices in life only heightens the daily tension of living as a pilgrim on this earth, which I hope I’ll have more wisdom to handle as I age.
While finding purpose in my work had been a long-time struggle, my change in job scope in July brought with it new perspectives in the meaning behind what I do. I was very apprehensive of the changes but God used it for good by invigorating me with a sense of purpose. God also gave me a new dream as I considered the financial choices to be made when I turn 35 in 2 years’ time. I’d like to have a place of my own, to practise hospitality, hosting friends and providing a place for fellowship. With this desire, an old dream waned; the idea of home has changed. A home is functional, but more than that, the meaning of home is much more, emotional and social. I’m blessed that even now, I have a home to which I can look forward to returning.
If there’s any palpable sadness this year, it’s the growing awareness that my mum’s health is deteriorating. Her dementia condition has worsened and she’s more prone to bouts of forgetfulness and outbursts. The sense of loss of control in her life and my life as a result of her behavioural change triggered a feeling of helplessness. In a way, that helped me to learn to live one day at a time. I reckoned this contributed to the greater gratitude for daily grace and strength.
A song that helped to realign my thoughts when I was unhappy with what I don’t have was Matt Redman’s Ten Thousand Reasons. As the second stanza reminded me of God’s goodness and love, I hope that my focus in 2015 will be on Him and His character.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore