This could be an overused image this time of year, but since we spent the first day of 2012 driving from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts it seems like a fitting title to look back to 2011 and forward to 2012. Trying to reflect on the past year is sometimes difficult. Things blur and mesh with previous years to such a point that it is sometimes hard to remember what happened this year and what did not.
Overall it was a year that has been marked with frustration. Maybe not overwhelming frustration, but a nagging frustration. The type where you think it is gone but it continues to reappear. Maybe it is a certain question you are asked, or something you think of and then that frustration rears its ugly head. The source of this frustration is mostly just not knowing what we’re supposed to do. Not knowing what God wants us to do or where he wants us to be. It’s a frustration that comes from being in a holding pattern, but not really wanting to be in one. Mostly because you aren’t sure what you’re supposed to do and therefore wind up wasting a lot of energy worrying and not enough on actually living where you are.
Despite the feeling of the year being frustration, it really hasn’t been a bad year event wise. My wife Kristen and I moved closer to the church we’ve attended since we’ve been in Massachusetts, which has been really nice. Kristen also started a new job, which was nice, even though that hasn’t been an entirely positive thing, it is better than the job she left. I’ve been getting to stay at home with our son Ryan, which has been a lot of fun. Admittedly staying home with him is also part of the frustration, since that wasn’t really the way we were planning things.
Perhaps the worst thing is that as I look back in the rearview mirror to 2011 it seems that a lot of it is really coming with us into 2012. We’re still not entirely sure what we’re supposed to be doing. Is there a job out there for me? Am I supposed to be staying home with Ryan? Are we supposed to be staying in Massachusetts? Should we move closer to family? Is there some other unknown thing we’re supposed to be doing? How will we know that? How do we invest and live life where we are without all these questions interfering? These issues are still there. The nagging frustrations of 2011 are poised to become the nagging frustrations of 2012.
At the end of it though I do feel thankful. While there is a frustration that pops up every so often. We are not struggling the way that many do. We’re able to live comfortably with only one of us working, we have a warm place to sleep at night, we’re part of a community that that we enjoy being a part of, and we’re both able to have a big part in our sons life. While it may be easy to dwell on the uncertainties and frustrations what we have to be thankful for outweighs the frustrations. That doesn’t always make it easy, but it does help gain some perspective and that is useful to have regardless of whether it is the beginning of a new year or the middle of a year.
So here’s hoping that your 2012 may be better than your 2011.That you will grow and learn more in the new year and also that the world doesn’t end next December. Because let’s face it that might make for a pretty bad 2012 for a lot of people.