I am still processing some goals for the New Year. I hope to have them sorted out and down on paper by next week--and when I do, I'll be sharing them here. My friend Paivi commented on my New Year's post, saying that, "Only a true lover of words would choose the word "resolutely" to describe someone's (Paul's) indifference for New Year's. Beautiful and subtle use of oxymoron. (With a pinch of irony)!" I had to confess that I was not that clever--but that she was clever to notice my accidental brilliance.:) I think that her use of words was scintillating.
It is a season of reflection and pondering. I don't sit down on New Year's Eve with pen and paper and map a course for the next year, but I find value in taking inventory of my life; thinking deeply about what is working and what isn't, and coming up with a strategy for making good changes. This takes time and it's hard to find long chunks of time to just sit and lay it all out so I'm carrying my little note book with me and working in spare moments when I can find them--like at the hairdresser while my hair colour is processing!
On the topic of pondering, I read a story on Monday that I've been thinking about since. I picked up an old book on a "free to a good home," table at church. It's by Tim Kimmel and called, Little House on the Freeway-Help for the Hurried Home. (Click here). I thought the book might reinforce what I've been learning about Sabbath and rest. It turned out to be a different kind of book but I'm reading it anyway.
The story I've been thinking about concerned a friend of Tim's named Mike, who knew he was about to be drafted during the Vietnam War and so before that happened he volunteered for the artillery in order to have some control over his assignment. He thought he would be lobbing shells at the enemy from a distance, but he and his gun crew ended up being sent sent to be with an elite Green Beret company in the front lines. They sat, protected by two 8 foot barbed wire fences, providing occasional cover for the Green Berets who would carefully cross the patch of ground between themselves and a forest--a patch of ground in which they had planted mines. Eventually one of Mike's men, tired of being cooped up behind the fences and emboldened by the apparent silence, left the safe area. Avoiding the mines he crossed to the forest, intending to pick some of the fruit he could see growing there. Just before reaching the forest though, he suddenly stopped in horror and turned to run back--but before he could take even a step, he was shot to pieces by the enemy that had been lying in wait all along. Immediately they swarmed out of the forest towards the compound, many of them following the trail they had seen the soldier take. They engaged Mike and his men in hand to hand combat, with terrible consequences.
I found it a sobering story. Mike's gunner didn't just get shot to pieces himself when he broke out of the safe zone, but he created a pathway for the enemy to invade the safe area and attack his buddies. Maybe the story was just for me--and I'm not great at retelling stories-- but I found it a powerful metaphor to illustrate the fact that the steps we take are so important to weigh.