As I get older I realise more and more how precious time is, how crucial it is to make the most of each moment, to give thanks for each new day. More and more we have friends who have run out of time, or health, to do the things they might have hoped for in their latter years.
Since my husband retired we’ve done lots of travel as has always been his dream and we’ve been fortunate to have the health and means to do it, so we’ve had wonderful experiences both overseas and in Australia. In between the travel I’m focussed on my priorities; what to do with the time I have at home, in my community, in my writing, with my family.
So these past couple of weeks I’m again focussed on what this new year holds, as I’m sure many others are. What is God calling me to this year? I’ve been challenged by some words of T.S.Elliot, words I’ve often stopped and thought about, but which this time struck a new note. ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
One of my favourite writers, Richard Rohr, caused me to think about this in a different way when he shared his understanding of this statement. He describes it as returning to where we began; the eternal embrace of Divine Love. Our story ends where it begins. Like Adam and Eve we begin a life given to us by God, and spend much of it exploring ourselves, seeking independence and our own selfish ends, only to realise that our true self is in the God we left behind. We all came from God and are headed back to God.
Every morning brings a brand new day. Every year is a new beginning, but the journey is the same; the formation of an ever-growing and deepening understanding of Divine Reality and the reality of our relationship with God, the relationship we were made for in the first place. Our routes, experiences and pace may differ. We have our preferred symbols, rituals, our differing gifts and resources, but we don’t have to allow them to get in the way of what they all point to and lead to – our union with God.
I’m encouraged by this to consider all my goals and aspirations in this light. I have choices to make this year. I have dreams of what I’d like to accomplish. I have preferences about how I use my time. I have books I want to write. I have commitments and challenges to face. I have space for surprises and the unexpected. In all of these I want to keep uppermost in my mind that my ultimate journey is into deeper relationship with God.
I see how Scripture leads us to encourage others in the same journey. 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6. There is a variety of gifts but the same Spirit. There are all sorts of service to be done, but always the same Lord, working in all sorts of different ways in different people. It is the same God working in all of them.
Whatever our year holds it’s great to know that those of us who walk with God are heading in the one direction. God’s work in all of us is to bring us back to Himself, where we began, where He has us safely and wondrously in His hands.
For me this makes the year ahead exciting, new, challenging and purposeful. It is filled with possibilities and the joy of knowing I walk each day with the One who created and gave me freedom to explore the world and find my true self and deepest satisfaction in Him. I pray it is so for you.
Carol writes historical novels based on her family ancestry in Australia and include the Turning the Tide series; Mary’s Guardian, Charlotte’s Angel, Tangled Secrets and Truly Free. Her earlier novels Suzannah’s Gold and Rebecca’s Dream have been re-released by EBP. You can see more about Carol and her novels on her website or her FB author page.