Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's "360"

On the last day of my retreat time at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico I climbed up on a ridge to take in a last view of the breath-taking landscape. I did a slow 360 degree turn so that I could enjoy the variety of vistas from one vantage point. Even though each few degrees offered a different perspective I was not disappointed by any view.

Why do we place such importance on New Year's Day? It seems to be a rather arbitrary designation yet people celebrate well into the night approaching it and "take stock" during the day of recovery. It is a "360" opportunity, the way birthdays and anniversaries tend to be as the years roll on. Isn't it amazing that we do this so seldom when the days of our lives are so fleeting and precious? For the most part life just happens and we wonder where the days and years go.

Often people come to see me because they are confused or bitter about what life has served up. Others wonder whether God has "a wonderful plan for your life" as the TV preachers are inclined to say. My role seems to be one of encouraging folk that they are not victims. Neither does God have a set of blueprints for each of us which we must be careful to follow.

Instead we choose to trust in a Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer who will be our partner in shaping a creative, thoughtful, joyful life of meaning. Of course we may have to figuratively huff and puff our way to the vantage point where our true and deepest pleasure may be found.

When I was at Ghost Ranch I renewed my commitment to some of the passions of my faith. Art as an expression of the divine. Spending time in the natural world as a form of praise. Contemplation and prayer to hear the voice of Christ. It was a "360" experience for me.

What are your "360" commitments for 2008?

1 comment:

Lynnof60 said...

On reflection I realized that during the down times of the last few years I have never once asked "why me?" "why us?" Conversely, when there are good times - of which there have been many - I do not say that we are blessed...that's like saying those that are having a difficult time are NOT blessed. That simply is not true. I know that the bad times will pass - as will the good times. It is a case of hanging on tight to your faith, your friends and your family. This too shall pass.