A Few Words on Living Fully in 2015
The novelty of the New Year has not yet worn off, has it? Indeed, today I returned to work and, with awkward, halting penmanship and deliberate thought, wrote “2015” in the date I recorded on some paperwork. It’s this time of year that we are still eagerly embracing our hopes for the year ahead, wanting to make fresh efforts to realize what we long to be in our lives. Just the other night, the Missus and I had a thought-provoking conversation about what went well in our lives in 2014 and what we want for ourselves in 2015. I’m sure you have hopes for light and life in 2015 and perhaps you’ve shared them in similar conversations with loved ones already.
Yet as the New Year dawned, Parker Palmer’s words from his reflection “Autumn” returned to me. Though we are now in the thick of winter, his thoughts, quoted here in part, are no less apropos:
When we so fear the dark that we demand light around the clock, there can be only one result: artificial light that is glaring and graceless and, beyond its borders, a darkness that grows ever more terrifying as we try to hold it off. Split off from each other, neither darkness nor light is fit for human habitation. But if we allow the paradox of darkness and light to be, the two will conspire to bring wholeness and health to every living thing. Autumn constantly reminds me that my daily dyings are necessary precursors to new life. If I try to “make” a life that defies the diminishments of autumn, the life I end up with will be artificial, at best, and utterly colorless as well. But when I yield to the endless interplay of living and dying, dying and living, the life I am given will be real and colorful, fruitful and whole.
Often we want to leave the darkness in our lives behind us, buried by time and our attempts to keep it at bay. Especially at this time of year, we can without even knowing it, seek to hide the darkness in our buoyant hopes for the light. But what is light without darkness? As Palmer eloquently points out, not only are light and darkness unavoidable in our lives, we need them both to live full, fruitful lives, as both, I would add, are rich additions to the beautiful tapestry of our experiences.
So this year, I wish for you and your family fullness of life. It’s my hope that your hopes fully bloom in the new year. I wish that your longings blossom as autumn gives way to spring, as darkness and decay intermingle and interplay with light within our lives, for newness of life is not possible without death. Have a colorful, fruitful, and whole New Year!