This is my final article of the calendar year. Usually I review the year and share what I’ve learnt. I often consult similar articles I’ve written in previous years, just to see if my thinking has changed. I’m happy to say it hasn’t changed, but it has advanced.
In anticipation of the rigours of very successful cataract surgery this summer, someone from the surgeon’s office found me a bed and some items of furniture that allowed me less physical strain and more floor space. She also secured grants to cover the cost of medications, and gave me enough eyedrop samples to sail a small submarine.
More recently, my favourite superhero drove up to install desperately needed bookshelves in my apartment, and provided one or two other necessities as well.
A couple from my church stepped up more than once to keep me eating, keep me in contact with the outside world, and help me with hospital demands after the surgeries I’ve mentioned.
My friend in Russia was successful in replacing the prayer rope he sent me last year, which was destroyed (we believe) by a customs official before it was shipped. He also has been working with me on a book I’m writing, and a book I’ve rewritten, and my work is better for it.
There have been others. It has been difficult, but it has not be horrible.
In previous years I’ve written about faith and hope. I don’t say I’ve mastered either, but I know now that when a difficulty arises, a solution won’t be too far behind. In an article I wrote last year, I referred to the choice we all have—to enter the new year carrying a light against darkness, or with our eyes tightly closed so that we see nothing—good or bad. It was a thought people valued.
Looking back, it seems that carrying a light is a much better idea. Christmas Season, which concludes the year, is not the Celebration of Light and Love, it is the Celebration of Light and Love that shines all year.
For the world, 2018 has been wretched, and as the year closes, we face political, economic, and environmental disaster on a massive and potentially terminal scale. Hope is harder to have, and moving forward is more problematic when the past will not be quiet in the present.
To address these challenges, I leave you with two quotes:
It is the end of a long [year]. That which has been done has been done. That which has not been done has not been done. Let it be.
Book of Common Prayer, Anglican Church of New Zealand
Do not fight to expel the darkness from the chamber of your soul. Open a tiny aperture for light to enter, and the darkness will disappear.
My hope for you all is that 2019 is full of light!
Paul TN Chapman
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