Oh, this year.
Can we rewind the clocks? Maybe, just maybe, when we flip the calendar back to January... it will say January 2012.
Where's Marty McFly when you need him?
Because there's plenty I'd like to redo. Undo. Change. Reconfigure. Halt. Slap myself for. Prevent.
There's too many friends I would like to unearth from their graves to just have one more moment with them while they were still breathing. Too many relationships I would like to... well... Fix.
And when I say fix... I really mean to just be more intentional with... and perhaps less intentional with others. Well, definitely less intentional with others.
Wasted. Used. Abused.
That was 2012.
Heartbreak. Pain. Headaches. Fractures. Heaviness. Normalcy.
This year has just been one of those years.
But it has made me realize one thing:
A question that I don't really want to ask, but am forced to.
When did I stop thinking life was dessert?
Fudge brownies, soft serve ice cream, Boston Cream Pie. The works.
Because in life there's always something better, sweeter. I just have to leave room for it, sometimes ask for it, other times seek it out myself.
If life is dessert, the big cha-bang, the grand closure to a filling meal...
I can always assume positive intent, even from the people who hurt me the most, because with all of the pitch darkness that humans have within us... there is only a spark of hope, when we let it shine.
When I think of life as the next great dish in front of me I'm reminded to never stop investing in people, because I fail, we all fail. And we all need to know and be known by someone other than ourselves. I recognize that cry for intimacy in myself: To know and be known.
Perhaps it's the face of God within us that drizzles out the hefty desire... to have companionship.
After all, a meal eaten alone is a meal wasted. We eat for fellowship. It's part of surviving. And dessert is what we all truly long for. It's what we savor most.
Grandma's Apple Pie.
I need people.
And I'm not alone in that...
We need people.
I was never meant to be alone.
I'm reminded to be intentional with every moment, allowing the warm aromas of the fresh baked cupcake to make it's mark: Savoring. To never forget the important things, the details that make up a moment:
How the cheese on that one perfect pizza just evaporated into deliciousness when I bit into it.
The brilliance that was "The Avengers" with the guys from school.
The first kiss and the way her beautiful brown eyes lit up and she smiled after it.
The way we drove around town celebrating over a crazy come from behind baseball game.
The softness of the pillow after the most exhausting of days.
The warmth of the shower after being sick all day.
The jokes shouted across the hallway.
The majesty of "The Dark Knight" on the big screen sitting next to my best friends, sucking on Lemonheads that we sneaked in. Live a little dangerously, right? Haha.
The comfort and warmth of a friendly hug after a nauseating conversation of pain in my life.
The loud cheers of some, the saddened outburst of tears from others, when the news announced that Barack Obama had been re-elected.
Moments like these matter to me.
Driving across the Midwest United States, there's an unknown beauty in the protruding rolling hills.
Flying over the Great Lakes, looking down at the brilliant blue reflection of the sky upon its contents.
Watching the sun rise over the Atlantic on a Florida beach; palm trees whispering through the salty breeze, waves crying their wrath as they crash upon the white sand, seagulls singing their desires for a fish breakfast.
While enjoying those moments... that breath I breathe in is taken from me immediately.
But I still know to breathe in life, letting it crash through the walls built up inside like a cookies and cream milkshake rushing through a large straw... bursting upon the minuscule taste buds lining the wonderful pink pallet locked inside my jaw.
I'm reminded that the power of the incarnation is the power I throw my anchor to. Wherever I am, to be all there. Let the wind take me where it may, but never taking my eyes off the rock I cling to.
It dawns on me to just simply...Slow... down.
And taste the time directly in front of me.
Give thanks, and see God.
Life isn't the main dish... That was yesterday. Life is dessert, and I want to savor long whatever time holds.
The joy of life.
I cannot imagine my life without Christ.
It's an impossibility for me. 2012 has been hard. Real hard. But I'm not the only one who has had it hard. Must I need to remind myself of State College, Pennsylvania; Aurora, Colorado; and Newtown, Connecticut?
And those are just the three big time, criminal incidents that made national news.
What of the social justice issues?
What of the amount of foreclosures?
And families, now one member short as a result of 2012?
What of all those that went basically unnoticed?
What of the tragedy in Delhi, India?
And my heart breaks for the victims of all of these dishes life throws at people.
Where's the bowl of ice cream waiting at the end of the table for them?
I have to look for joy.
I have to.
But life has taught me one other lesson:
Awakening to joy awakens to pain.
Ann Voskamp in her book One Thousand Gifts, pours her own heart out after noting that fact,
"Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don't numb themselves to really living. Pages of the gratitude journal [could] fill endlessly. Yet I know it in the vein and the visceral: life is loss. Every day, the gnawing...
What will I lose? Health? Comfort? Hope? Eventually, I am guaranteed to lose every earthly thing I have ever possessed.
When will I lose? Today? In a few weeks? How much time have I got before the next loss?
Who will I lose? And that's definite: I will lose every single person I have ever loved. Either abruptly or eventually. All human relationships end in loss. Am I prepared for that?"
Why do I want to savor that?
“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him…” -Job 13.15
God seldom works in the easy and comfortable.
So I guess, I need to just slow down.
"It’s hard. It’s complicated to reconcile a God who works through pain. It’s tough to trust in a Lord who allows suffering and inconvenience. It’d be a whole lot easier to mindlessly promise myself that Jesus always wants to make life easy, but I don’t think that’s how He works.
If anything, Jesus uses dark colors when He paints. He’s into streams in the desert and life out of death. Just take one good look at the cross and that ought to convince you that the God the Bibles speaks of is a God who uses horror and injustice to His advantage.
The cross is evidence to our minds, and balm for our souls that our God is a God who brings beauty out of pain. Art out of chaos. Beauty out of ugliness. Or as some of the poets have said, He conquers death by death itself. Our Redeemer beat Death at his own game. Hope rises." -Mike Donehey
Because life is loss. Enjoy it as it passes. I can't wish it way, no matter how miserable the times may be.
God, Help me to be thankful, grateful for whatever dish sitting in front of me.
Whatever cup I'm given.
Because life is more than loss.
Life is... the unexpected, expected.
An obvious mystery.
A point blank distance shot.
True life is a paradox.
My problem is that I have forgotten to find myself by becoming lost in mystery.
Savor the most unexpected of times, the craziest change of environment, the most unbearable of burdens.
Because this too shall pass.
It will, with each passing second we only get closer to Jesus returning.
This upcoming year I want to allow life to hit me one chocolate chip cookie at a time... some may have M&Ms in them, others may be burnt and stale.
But I'll savor them nonetheless, allowing each taste bud to be used, allowing every one of my gifts, my abilities, and my strong points to be used to their greatest advantage.
All the while choking down the pain that comes from growing from my weaknesses.
Savor each moment... because we won't ever get it back again.
2012 is closing in just a few hours... 2013?
Well, no matter how awful 2013 is, I'm going to celebrate it's arrival.
Dinner is over.
Dessert is on it's way.