Facing against the direction of travel

Being British, our family’s Christmas Day would not be complete without The Queen and her annual message. It’s tradition. It’s an institution. It’s one of the rare occasions when we hear her personal perspectives.

Huddling around the TV to hear Her Majesty on Christmas Day a couple of weeks ago, we are listening as she reflects on a year full of ‘moments of darkness‘. She causes us to pause a moment, to recall the terrorist atrocities in Tunisia and Paris, and the plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding into Europe …

Then, boom!

“It is true that the world had to confront moments of darkness this year,” she says, “but the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services, ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ 

I am reminded of this blog, lying languishing, beckoning me to write.

It is true that there have been many ‘moments of darkness‘. Not just in the big wide world. Not just in my community, in my family, amongst my friends and acquaintances. Not just in this tiny corner of the universe that I happen to inhabit.

But it is also true that there have been many cracks of light shining through those moments of darkness. Glimmers of hope. Miracles of healing and deliverance. Stories of transformation.

Why have I not been recording them? Why have I not been sharing them? Why does it take The Queen quoting the strapline of this blog to remind me that it’s here?!?

Then I stumble across these words over at Live to Write — Write to Live:

“Reflecting on the year gone by is an exercise that can quickly bring you down if you don’t keep your perspective … Reviewing what you have accomplished inevitably leads to acknowledging what you have not accomplished, and those realizations can leave you feeling deflated, guilty, ashamed, and generally disappointed in yourself. Or, maybe that’s just me. 

Each year, I stride into January with Big Dreams and High Hopes. A small voice in my head cheers the mantra, “This is the year! This is the year!” I can’t help but be swept up in the exhilarating annual revel of redemption and expectation. After all, who doesn’t love a second chance? 

Processing my New Year this way — looking both backward and forward, layering my hopes and plans for the New Year on top of the successes and missteps of the old one — forces me to take a longer view of things — to look at the ‘old’ year and the new one not as distinct entities that must be judged against each other, but as interwoven pieces of an unbroken continuum.”

So, at the beginning of another new year, I am forcing myself to take a longer view of things. I am looking both backward and forward.

To quote Kate Coleman from Next Leadership:

“The vast majority of people in the Western world live their lives with their faces to the future, eager to see what is ahead, with barely a second glance at the past behind them … Consequently, we hardly ever learn from the past or ask ourselves strategic questions in order to improve upon it … Hebrew, together with some other languages, views the past as being ahead in full view, while the future, the unseen, lies behind. This perspective, which is rather like sitting on a train with your back to the direction of travel, proves invaluable for those seeking to explore the source of true vision … ”

I am seizing the opportunity to sit for a while, on the train journey of life, with my back to the direction of travel. 

I am encouraged by all the stories I’ve encountered, during the past year, of light piercing the moments of darkness – sometimes in a trickle, sometimes in a flood – and I am excited in anticipation of the many more I’m going to be seeing in the coming year. My vision is to share them, with courage and confidence!

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