I’m sharing this more for the sake of being able to find it again in future, as I reckon it will do me good to read this letter from time to time. Having just given up on failed studies and a failed career, having settled for what could be called second-best, C.S. Lewis’ Advice to Students When Everything Seems in Ruins seems very apt to me.
I believe that most of us genuinely want to make a difference in this world. But we become overwhelmed. We see how big the task is before us, we become very aware of our own limitations and inadequacies, and we lose our nerve. We remember the pain of the last time we failed, the last time our work didn’t have the desired effect, the last time we were betrayed, and we shy away from taking the risk – we don’t want to feel that again.
This morning I was reminded that that isn’t an excuse.
This morning as we enjoyed our first cuppa of the new year, I noticed the wife’s a bit teary.
“What’s the matter?” says I.
She responds, “I’ve just managed to finish one year, and now I have to do another one!”
One doesn’t think of it like that, does one? Once the partying is done and the hangover has subsided, there’s another whole three-hundred and sixty-four days lying ahead in which to push and fight and grin and bear it and fail and get knocked down until you no longer want to get up.
It’s enough to bring one to tears. But there’s also another whole three-hundred and sixty-four days lying ahead in which to be kind and show compassion and take risks and have adventures and tell stories and make art and laugh and love and learn. Another year in which to give hugs and hold hands and make friends and be amazed at the wonder of this universe in which we live.
That’s the year I’m wishing for you all. May 2014 take you on the wildest ride of your life and leave you completely changed come its end and may you look back three-hundred and sixty-five days from today and say, “Damn! I wish I could go again.”
Happy New Year!
P.S. We’re headed to the in-laws (again) tomorrow (apparently they have another snoek needs cooking), and I’m foreseeing another lack of internet over there, so if I don’t respond to comments, please don’t take it personally. The first book review of 2014 will still go up on Friday and I’ll be back by Monday for the year’s very first Song Title Challenge.
I tend not to post things of an overtly religious nature here as I realise many of the people who follow this blog is not religious and may even be anti-religious and I don’t believe in shoving the Bible down people’s throats. But you’re a fool if you argue the Bible is irrelevant and has nothing to say to our modern society. This post by Matt Marino is a prime example and I think a suitable read for thanksgiving. And, like Matt, I point my finger at me first when I read this…the only time when you’re allowed to do that, I think.
I first realized I was “that guy” in our neighborhood at my daughter’s pirate-themed fifth birthday party. I suspect many youth ministry people grow up to become “that guy.” This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. The years we spend active with teenagers develop a set of skills, that when exercised with small children, in particular, small children with overprotective parents, make us quite popular with those children and considerably less so with their parents.
We had recently moved from a street where we had the only children on the block to a neighborhood with at least 30 kids in our children’s age group. Much to our chagrin, every one of those kids and their keepers converged on our home for my daughter’s party-the parade from both directions was quite a…
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This week I once again posted on The Book Notes Project. You can also read the post here.
Last time I wrote about how each one of us is a story, that you are the author of your story and that you have to make the choices that will determine whether or not your story will be a good one.
But that made me think of something else: we all have an innate need to tell our stories. And more importantly, we all have a need to have our stories listened to.
That’s probably one of my biggest frustrations in life: I can’t find anyone to listen to my story. See, I’m a natural listener. If I sit next to someone on a bus or stand behind someone in a queue, they just start talking to me. Nothing too personal…at first. But I can’t help listening – I’m naturally good at it and I’ve been trained as a counsellor which merely honed my existing skills – and before long they’re spilling their guts to me. Continue reading “The Greatest Service”