So with today being the last day of Christmastide, the Advent and Christmas season, I thought about the year that was for me and the thoughts that have dominated my mind through this season. And the epiphany, the manifestation, the light bulb that has gone off in my head, which is not new but very very powerful these days, is the sense of the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’ of Jesus enduring love and peace in the world and in my life. Jesus is already here but Jesus is not yet fully here.
I’ll start with the not yet.
There have been many hard things this past year that have dominated my thoughts.
War! There is so much war right now. And as far as I can tell from a far distance, all I seem to see is that these wars are about corruption, pride, and greed. So very sad to see lives being destroyed over these things. I can’t even bare to watch it sometimes.
Homelessness and poverty. The rich are very much getting richer and the poor are getting more desperate by the day. In Toronto alone there are an estimated 10,000 people now with no homes. I can easily get depressed when thinking about this.
Death. So many people are dying all the time around me. And the most personal of all of those deaths this past year has been my mother. Her birthday would have been January 9th so I will write a tribute to her specifically then, but for now I will say I miss her dearly. I really wish I could pick up the phone and talk to her. But I can’t. She’s gone.
I don’t understand why the ‘not yet’ of Jesus enduring life has not kicked in yet. It kind of makes me angry. And sad. And confused.
And yes even doubtful. When I dwell on the big picture of the way things are going in the world, I can feel depressed and helpless and hopeless. I often feel like there’s nothing I can do.
But then thankfully my mind takes me to the ‘already’. Jesus is here and there is a love and a peace that I can experience right now and not just down the road. There are tons of wonderful things in my life that I can dwell on. I have a place to live, a wife and daughter that I love and that love me back, a second home that that has staff that takes care of me in my current health condition, a year without having to go to hospital (knock on wood), a new wheelchair which is a thousand times better than my last one, tons of friends that I love and who love me back and will do anything for me, a church community, great foods on a semi regular basis, the list just goes on.
And every now and then I get to run into someone that I worked with at Gateway. Someone that used to live there but is now housed. And they thank me for walking alongside then. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I can’t help but wonder if those meetings are providential. Those little lights in the darkness that remind me that it was all worthwhile even though homelessness is getting worse. I tried my best and it has mattered to many people, which matters to me.
And as far as war goes, I do get to meet the occasional refugee who is so happy to be here and thankful to be out of conflict. That also means an unbelievable amount to me when I know about some of the conditions of refugee camps. II feel like those meetings are providential as well.
As far as death goes I will just talk about my mother. She was a deeply spiritual person who had a strong faith in Jesus. She was at so much deep peace and desire to be with God forever and ever. Even though I miss her dearly, I couldn’t be more thankful that she has crossed the threshold from life to death and knows the great mystery of the deepest enduring love and peace that none of us on this side of the grave can really fully grasp. I miss her but I am so happy for her. I feel at peace about her death in a way that does in fact pass all understanding.That too I believe is providential.
These are some glimpses of peace in the midst of so much turmoil. These are some lights, some epiphanies, in the midst of lots of darkness.
So I will continue to live with this polarity of light and darkness, life and death, joy and pain, happy and sad, already and not yet, and will do my best in 2024 5o bring my thoughts back to the already and not dwell on the not yet as much as I can.
We shall see…