Saturday, December 31, 2011

No Man's Land

My sister wrote these words a few days ago:

i wait
in between
what was and
what is to be
(Cathryn Ironside)

And that is where I sit, quietly waiting, the fireplace glowing brighter as the outside light dims.

The Tea House is ready, with freshly washed carpets and upholstery, linoleum scrubbed clean, comfortable chairs waiting in a circle for the guests who will inhabit them in just a few hours.

I have talked with many people I love throughout the day.

And now it's me and you.

Where do you sit in the quietness before the break-up of the old year, the breaking of a new one? Will you have a chance for a moment of reflection before you join the festivities?

How would you sum up your year? What sets it apart in your mind from every other year?

Did you accomplish what you had set out to do? Did you dare to dream dreams that actually came true?

Did you dream dreams that seem to have been crushed underfoot, disregarded, thrown back in your face?

Was this a year of unmitigated joy for you, or of unquenchable grief?

Or was it a year that seemed to slip by so quickly it was barely distinguishable in all the swirl of activity rippling around you?

We have each gained some things and lost some things that are precious to us.

But through it all, through the ups and downs, one thing rings out, a clarion call:

God Is For Us.

We may not understand His workings

but He is in control

We may feel abandoned and alone

but He is with us

We may feel apprehension for the future

but He goes before us

He loves us, and He wants what is best for us. It gives Him no pleasure to see us in pain.

And even when it seems that - despite our best efforts, despite our crying out to Him - He is nowhere to be found ...

... He is still there.

In 1988, when I was going through a time of terror and transition in my life and the unknown loomed darkly in front of me, I asked my Dad if God was still in control.

"Hold out your hand and take hold of mine," Dad said. My left hand grasped his right hand, our fingers interlocking.

"Now let go," he instructed.

So I did. My fingers stretched straight up, stretched away from the back of his hand.

And even though my fingers felt in limbo, felt detached and isolated, my hand remained in the steady grip of my father's hand.

He had not loosened his clasp one iota.

How much more so with our heavenly Father? "Underneath are the everlasting arms," my Dad whispered to me that day.

The prayer I offer as this year closes, and which I pray with you, is this:


  1. What a comfort to know that God is here in 2011. What an encouragement it is to know that God is there in 2012!

  2. Beautiful and moving Karyn. As we reflect on this last year, your presence in our lives is a bright spot. Thank you!

  3. So beautiful....
    That reading would be a good birthday one as well. I think I'll tuck it away (where's it from?).
    Happy New Year! :)

  4. Dea, it is from an old prayer book called "Great Souls at Prayer." I'll show it to you when you're in the TH some time ...

  5. Thank you for this New Year prayer. No matter where we are, the centre is here, as written.

  6. "Great Souls at Prayer" is online as well. Here is a link to the December 31 entry:

  7. The only way to know if you are still being held [or ever really were] is to let go.


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