This is our truth, tell us yours
It’s a strange time of year, the build up to Christmas, with all the emotions good and bad that can bring, then the pregnant pause as we wait for New Years Eve. The Romans depicted Janus as having two faces, one looking to the past, the other to the future, and it is an image that perhaps sums up the mood.
Looking back over this year the major thing that comes to mind is that I am far stronger than I ever believed possible. My fellow traveller here, who is of course never wrong, has always said I am strong, and I have always denied it. Not very twue sub of me I know but I disagreed because I didn’t understand how anyone who felt things so strongly, who needed so much, could be strong. You will not be surprised to hear I was wrong and he was right.
This year has had so many challenges, for me, and for those I care about, and through it all I have realised that wobbles are OK, that emotions are a sign of being human not of being weak, that its carrying on despite them, being able to offer support to others even as I want to weep that is a sign of strength. Its been a huge change for me, knowing that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, that even while struggling I can be there.
Whilst we celebrate the birth of a baby my mind is drawn to the end of the story, the face looking forward, and Christs suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
It is ok to feel sorrow, it is ok to say I wish this were different, it is ok to want the suffering to be avoided. It is not weakness, it is humanity, the same humanity Christians celebrate in the birth of a baby, with all the weakness and vulnerability that entails.
As I look to the future I hope that 2015 is the year where I not only admit to myself it is oK to struggle, to feel, but also to reach out to others, to tell them when I need help.