Let me first start by wishing everyone a happy New Year!
As 2014 draws quickly to a close for me–and for some of you still in the 2014 time zone–I wanted to spend a bit of time to articulate to some extent my thoughts on 2014 before the year ends. Hopefully, many of you are enjoying the last of the year with loved ones as I will be doing in just a few hours from now.
But for the moment, I share with you a bit of how 2014 has been for me on a personal level…
Much of this past year has been spent regrouping and struggling on a very personal front. Nayong, when she met me in Seoul this past November, was stunned by how I did not look the way I did in 2013.
The reason? A great number of disappointments and difficulties, one of which was on a front that I had never expected to experience. For the first time in my life–20 years of volunteering at church–I sorely regretted having spent and taught some people, particular three people and all within a single family.
Many of you know that I volunteer my time on the weekends, spending time with a small group of teenagers and college students. Oftentimes, this time is coupled with my investing my various personal resources to help make that time a joyful and meaningful one for the kids. Despite all the ups and downs of Real Life that accompany a teenager’s growth, I have never once regretted teaching and being a part of these kids’ lives…until 2014. For the first time, I sorely regretted the past 6 years spent with a family of now grown young adults. I had never experienced–nor do I hope to ever experience–such an event again. To me, this level of regret was unprecedented and left me reeling for much of 2014.
And the sad thing about this whole debacle was that these young adults left, claiming that they had learned many great things from me….when they hadn’t. Had they actually learned from me, they would have never chosen to do the things that they did.
I may have taught them, but they never learned from me. *sigh* They just took what was convenient for them and ignored all the rest.
Some of you may wonder why this situation affected me so greatly. After all, isn’t this a common struggle among all teachers, parents, etc.? Don’t students do this all the time?
True. In my professional life, I teach and know that my college students will take or reject what I teach them, and I have no control over that. However, in my church life, in which I volunteer my free time and give to them my heart, academic expertise, food, presents, money, etc., the collective actions from an entire family of siblings left me reeling for much of the year, subtly and not-so-subtly adding to many other concerns that I had to deal with in 2014, so much so that I even contemplated just resigning from my volunteer position, which is usually a paid position at other churches.
Why do I type out this less-than-encouraging musing at the tail end of this year? Simply so that I can remind myself and others who may have had an equally tough year to just let things go and start afresh in 2015.
Let. It. Go.
As I prepare to spend what remains of 2014 at my church with my little minions and the rest of my church family, I am reminded of the frailty and inadequacies of humanity and am challenged to cling to the words from the book of Isaiah: “This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters […] ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.'”
I am hopeful that 2015 will bring new events, ones that will soothe and calm the tumult of 2014. I wish the same wish for all of you tonight.
Happy 2015, my dear Twinkles!