With this blog post I send out my best wishes for a happy 2016 to all reading this, and to all those who aren’t. While New Year’s is a holiday which is apparently supposed to inspire us and rejuvenate us with the excitement of a fresh, new year, I often feel tired after the holiday season. Christmas, while a lovely season, is also frenetic at times. Once the shine has dimmed from our new gifts, I often feel weary, heavy-laden with the drudgery of returning to a school/work schedule in the midst of winter. This is even true this year when much of the country is experiencing the mildest winter weather in years. Possibly due to this winter blues, or possibly due to the fact that I tend to rebel against expectations, I have never really made any new year’s resolutions. Usually, I reflect back on how I succeeded with daily Scripture reading. Some years I commit to reading through the Bible chronologically, some years I prefer to concentrate on specific books or themes.
Over the holidays my husband and I have enjoyed cooking together more. Being in the kitchen involved in more intricate, slow-food preparation has been a wonderful way for us to slow down and reconnect. One recipe had us chopping up three and a half pounds of onions, and sautéing them slowly down with a pork shoulder into a thick, rich sauce. The last couple of years I almost exclusively cooked with garlic, whether crushed, minced or in whole cloves, neglecting the onion. The sweet richness of that slow-simmered sauce may have convinced me to bring back the onion to my kitchen in 2016. You might say, I have resolved to do so.
While we continue to go through our own challenges, as I look back on 2015, I recognize so many blessings our family has enjoyed as well as so many things for which to be grateful. However, I have hurt , as I am sure you have, this year as our family witnesses so many friends and loved ones enduring truly difficult times. I long to be a follower of Christ who shares in the troubles of those around us.
Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ.
I want to be reminded daily to see through eyes with better vision. To be more focused, loving, prayerful, to seek out ways to serve and to have the wisdom to recognize when and how to do so.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the LORD. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction faithful in prayer. Share with the LORDS’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
And in between the triviality of onions, and the weightiness of greater spiritual vision, there lies the desire to read more. Have you seen the Pinterest photos of armchairs with shelves built in or cozy, airy nooks tucked away in sunlit-drenched rooms? No, I don’t have access to those either. But I have been inspired by Russia’s online live readings of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I don’t believe I have read it in its entirety since I was pregnant with my twelve year old. The hefty volume sits on my bedside table. I look forward to Pierre, Prince Andrej and Natasha, and even to Tolstoy’s philosophical view of history. Please note the translation is by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
Reading through Story of the World, volume 4 with my guys has reminded me of another Slavic thinker, Nikola Tesla. While browsing through Half Price Books back a few days prior to Christmas, I ran in to this biography full of photographs and mini bios of his contemporaries. You know Half Price Books, right? That is the books shop chain where you save money because all their merchandise is so cheap, but somehow you invariably drop $50 to $60 each time you walk in? I am about three chapters short of finishing Tesla: The Life and Times of an Electric Messiah by Nigel Cawthorne. While the Serbian visionary’s work ethic and commitment to research is something beyond what I am capable of, it does provide me something to marvel at in the new year.
Do you care to share any resolutions for the new year? Or are there things you are continuing to work on? I would love to hear from you.
Happy New Year to all of us!