today i welcomed in the new year with Sabbath. and i have truly done nothing. i slept in until close to eleven, my husband made me breakfast, i worked on a puzzle, did a fifteen minute work-out, had a long shower, do you get the picture? blissful.
sometimes rest makes me feel uncomfortable. my mind starts reaching out across the world to the mothers who never rest a moment, they are continually, eternally, fighting for food to keep their children alive. as i work on my puzzle i notice it's made in China. i wonder if the fingers that put together this beautiful image of children playing in the snow, were that of a small child, dreaming, in awe that there are others his age who are permitted play. is this depressing? of course it is, and i do apologize. but i'm going to continue, just to warn you.
i'm reading a novel entitled "child 44", which is a story that moves like a speed train, tunneling into my quiet moments, perceptions and conversations throughout the day. it's set in Stalin's communist Russia, which i've not learned of before now. it's blowing my mind - a nation struggling towards equality, thinking that equal pay and equal work will eliminate crime. in the process however, any person who dares make the slightest inclination that they don't agree with Stalin's doctrines is systematically executed. there is this scene where Stalin dies, and Moscow lines the streets for the funeral - wailing. not so much for their dead leader, but because this is the first time in so many years that the people have had an opportunity to openly mourn the family members who have been killed without it looking un-patriotic.
i think, how many millions currently live in this much fear? how many weigh every word and action on the scales of political dogma? who think that love and joy and play are reserved for the rich, or have died altogether with the past?
i recognize that this is not lighthearted "happy new year" fare, but it seems important to me that as i look back over my last year of life - the extreme blessing that i experience in family and country and faith - that i at least let myself glimpse the opposite reality and send up a prayer.
i pray for God's kingdom to come. this year. i pray for light in dark places, for relief in struggle, for kindness in pain, for fruitfulness in barrenness. and how will this come without Christ? and how do i bring the kingdom through my life? is loving my neighbour and buying fair trade coffee and recycling enough? what can be done? what can i do Lord?
what can i do?
i will follow your lead Lord. i will lay down my life where You ask me to. i will make sacrifices in order to give to others. i will work hard to spend my money wisely, being careful that my purchases do not increase the burdens of others. i will rest and play and love because You have ordained it, and these actions reflect your character and desire for humanity. i will watch for Your kingdom, and welcome it's arrival wherever it is found. i will love my children and encourage them to look to the needs of others. i will trust that You know what You're doing God, even when circumstances seem to say otherwise.
these are my resolutions for the year ahead. i hope that somehow the world is a better place in a year's time.