Sunday, January 6, 2013

Promises to Keep

I do believe I love New Year's Eve more than any other time of the year. Some of us had an early, light, supper in a corner of the TH; and then we got ready for the gathering later in the evening.

We played games, consumed a few comestibles and sang some of the old favourite hymns and choruses that hark back to many other New Year's Eves in many other places far from here. 

Then as midnight beckoned and the room slipped into a watch-night attitude, Dad read a few verses from Psalm 65, one of which in part is this:

Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness ...

... and I realized at that moment how truly blessed I actually was in 2012. I can trace a line from month to month of how good God has been to me in very many different ways. He has used so many of you to encourage and uplift me, often at times when I thought I couldn't take another step. "We've been praying for you " ... "I have an hour - can I do some dishes?" ... "This is good for one window washing at the Tea House" ... "Hi, Auntie Karyn, this is your adopted niece!" ... "I wasn't going to come over today but God wouldn't let me rest; is there something I can do to help you?" ... "Leave the china tonight and get some rest - I'll come over in the morning and we can do it together" ... "After the holidays I'm going to clean your fireplace for you" ... "I was mowing my lawn and thought I might as well do yours" ... "I'm going to power hose the outside walls for you" ... "Can I pick up the recycling for you?" ... "I'm running into the city; is there anything you need?" ... "I want to come alongside of you"  ... "I can work your Christmas dinners with you" ... "Go upstairs and rest - I'm taking over!"

The dozens of exquisite china cups and saucers ...

The beautiful cards and timely emails ...

The hugs as you arrive at or prepare to depart the TH ...

The phone calls ...

The support for "our" Tsunami kids ...

The half-scoops of sugar-coated fennel poured into my hand as a silent message: "You are not alone - keep up your energy ..."

The mugs of coffee and pots of tea and opportunities to share our heart in the purple chairs during the week ...

On and on it goes; the list of goodness toward me would cover reams of single-spaced, finely printed pages if I were to record each of your kind thoughts and actions.

The text in the frame: Dad got
Oliver, the youngest of us,
to read it aloud the next day
Dad had come to the TH earlier in the day and had set up the table. There was the covered plate, of course. There was also a text in a frame and an old Bible on a brass stand. 

Now, after he read the passage from Psalms, he asked if anyone would like to pray. Our dear Dudley - one of Mum's and Dad's "other children" who grew up under their ministry in Bangalore and who in turn ministered to them with such love and care once he himself was grown, and who had come to spend the new year with us - prayed. And then Dad prayed, for each one of us in the room and for others not present. He prayed that the promise each of us would choose would be a blessing and guidance and comfort for us in the coming year.

And then he removed the delicate lace doily protecting the antique china plate on which the ribbons of hope and promise rested.

The one I drew this year is Philippians chapter 1 and verse 6:

This verse was part of my routine throughout university - it was the theme verse for the little sorority-type group of which I was a member! I would duly recite it along with my group at the start of our meetings. 

However, the truth is that I wasn't confident. I knew that a good work had begun in me; but it seemed to me that at almost every turn, if there was some way I could sabotage that work, I would manage to discover it. I tried over the years to push this verse back into the recesses of my mind in a small attempt not to feel like such a failure.

But this midnight, as the last of the fireworks shimmied up into the sky and burst joyfully into arcs of sparkling colour outside the window behind me, a part of the verse I had never, ever, considered seemed for a moment to be in bold face:

... he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." 

I don't have to 'perform' any wonders to get me to where I am supposed to be; I don't have to 'perform' at all! God started the work in me and He will continue it as He sees fit.

What freedom comes with that knowledge!

You would think I would have comprehended it after my last year's promise, or the one from 2010, where I even acknowledge that there is nothing I have to do. (How long is it going to take me to be able just to rest, to breathe, and to leave it with the One in charge?!)

And here, sitting where I love to be more than almost anywhere else on earth, and with some of the people I love most, my year was truly crowned with goodness.

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing more encouraging than to reflect on one's blessings and especially at New Year's. Mary Oliver talks about gratitude in her poem "The Place I Want to Get Back To" and to paraphrase the last lines of her poem: "Karyn you live in the house near the corner, which is named GRATITUDE." Many are thankful their corners in the TH...and for you. Blessing in 2013!


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