Due to some technical difficulties, none of my blogs for 2021 ever actually posted. So, the good news is that I have a backlog of posts all written and ready to go and never yet viewed by another human being. The bad news is that life changes so quickly that what I wrote a year ago seems dated and irrelevant.
In fact, reading my unposted News Years’ post for 2021 felt a lot like pulling out leftovers from a delicious meal only to realize that 45 seconds in a microwave will not do much to revive the cold lumps of has-been cuisine. It’s over. Let them go.
But interestingly, I read a much older New Years post I had written (you can read it here) that still seemed to resonate with me. You see, even as I said “Happy New Year” while bustling through the airport on the first of January, I carried a certain guilt in throwing around the shallow greeting when I know so many hurting–truly hurting–people.
It seems all the dust kicked up in 2020 was settling in unpleasant places in 2021. Friends were dealing with life threatening issues. Friends lost jobs. Some battled with deep inner struggles. Some had difficulties in their marriages or in parenting. We all agonized over a world ever losing its mind.
If I am choosing to be happy, is it because I’m shallow and uncaring? Out of touch with reality? Still on a sugar buzz?
On the other hand, it hardly seems like a good idea to just let myself be down and discouraged. As the fun of the holidays passed and we returned to normal life again, I found myself wanting to choose joy in a hurting world and yet feeling a little awkward. Is it okay to be okay?
I watch my girls often as they laugh and play completely oblivious often to my own inner hurts and struggles much less the mayhem of the world we live in. And then I often have to force myself into sympathy when I see how distraught they become over the silliest of things.
And so it occurred to me…who I am to judge in my feeble mind what is the right placement of hope and grief? Even though I care about my friends and their struggles, I confess I don’t know what is truly best for them. I feel like my sense of what is important and what is not is more sophisticated and mature than my kids’ drama, but then, that’s not a very high standard. How often am I worked up about something only to find later that it doesn’t matter?
My thoughts turned to Psalm 131:
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
David, at the time of this writing, is arguably one of the most influential people in the world. He’s the king and Israel is reaching the pinnacle of its importance. He’s amassing wealth that his son, Solomon, will use to build a temple that will bring onlookers from remote parts of the earth. He is considered a military genius. He has experienced incredible blessing of the Lord that enabled him to kill a giant with a sling shot and a lion and bear with nothing but his savvy shepherding skills.
Yet, in Psalm 131, we see him humbling and quieting his soul, confessing that there are things he does not understand, and choosing to hope in God despite his inability to fully comprehend the world around him.
He even chooses the analogy of a small child– I envision a toddler placing his hand in his mother’s, not fully understanding everything that it going on and yet realizing that he doesn’t need to. He can walk along cheerfully–maybe even skip–with the quiet confidence that his mom knows the way.
Maybe that best describes me in the dawn of 2022. I don’t have the naivety to think that the problems of 2021 will evaporate. But I do believe that we can calmly walk on–maybe even skip–knowing God doesn’t expect us to know it all. He encourages us to calm and quiet our souls knowing He has given us everything we need to live joyful, fulfilled lives.