N.B. I'll take this time to say that I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year. I know that circumstances often lead to a lot of people feeling worse over the last few weeks than they normally do, and I know how much that sucks. So to those people, I give my condolences.
I've been sitting here for a while wondering what to put in my Christmas/New Year blog, and I find that so often at this time of year, the tendency is one of two things, a) to look back at the time that has passed and rejoice on the good times and console ourselves that the bad times have gone, or b) to look ahead to the future and expect better times; hope for better times; and prepare ourselves willfully to survive all that might come our way. And although in essence, I have done both of these things recently, I would like to take a moment to pause in the here and now and reflect on just these last few hours.
I went for a walk down the sea front today, and took some photos of the murky water as the sun faded away behind the blanket of clouds. It wasn't any kind of spectacular sunset, the sky remained a dull white as it began to fall through the darkness into the night. I spent quite a bit of time sitting on some steps that led down into the water, watching the lapping waves and listening as families passed on the road behind me. And as night fell, I found an overwhelming urge to just sit, and to just be myself, alone with my thoughts, as scary as that is for me sometimes.
For a while I sat and watched some birds hopping along the tips of the groynes that remained above the water. And as I drifted into thinking, I saw there an invitation to go deeper, a calling that under the surface of that salty liquid was an experience beyond anything I could ever imagine. It was a bewildering feeling that overtook me in those few minutes, when I saw an end to the feelings that build up inside me as if I were drowning in that place. And for a while, the loneliness of sitting there excited me, and goaded me to enter that murky water as if nothing else mattered.
But when I closed my eyes and thought of those times in the Philippines when I sat and watched the sun set over the beach; when I ignored the bitter wind, dropping temperatures and the sight of Kent across the water, then for a minute or so, I could actually believe that I was back there once again, and that behind the dusky mist that lay on the horizon was actually the sight of mountains and palm trees and the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen. In my minds eye, I had entered the world in which I found so much within myself, and where I began to lay my anger to rest. I was back in that place where I accepted that God would be with me always, even when I try to chase Him away. And within those minutes of believing I was there again, I found a peace that calmed my raging fears. I found a home that beckoned my return, and I found a reason to carry on.
Just before I travelled to the Philippines last year, I wrote a blog, in which I reflected on some things that were affecting me, and how they had, in one way or another, found their resolution. And so I shall end this blog with the same words. 2009 is ready to begin. It will bring its challenges, and it will bring its joys. I shall take each as it comes. Life is a continuous journey, and we must not dwell too much on what is behind us, for that has gone, nor what will come ahead of us, for the challenge is not in path ahead, but in the momentary step. There will be times when old wounds come to the surface needing to be healed. There will be times when pleasure is cut short by sorrow. But every day has a sunset, and the morning brings the sunrise.