Sunday, January 1, 2012

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

This is one of my favorite photos of Easton...just whizzing through the air with the wind in his hair.

In many ways, 2011 felt a bit like this photo. We were set adrift on January 1st last year to a new way of life - one in which neither Jason or I were working in a church. The things we stood on and surrounded ourselves with in ministry and vocation were gone, like the ground beneath us. In many ways, it was unnerving -loss of income is always scary, the unknown of what comes next, all the practicalities that go along with it. Although, as the year went on, we began to recognize the gift that the year was. A year in which our family remained fed and clothed and sheltered and admittedly, priorities shifted a bit in spending. It was the year that Jason stayed home with the boys for the most part and I worked full time for the first time since the boys were born. It turned into a really great role reversal and it was quite extraordinary to watch Jason do an amazing job planning meals, getting laundry done, making sure the boys had lunches and were picked up on time...he made me look really bad! I was reluctant at first to admit how bloody good at it he was, my pride took a bit of a beating! And so, we went into the summer of 2011 quite optimistically, still not knowing where we would land. Jason took the boys to Ohio for a month while they filled in for our friend, Dean, at his church there. They went camping. Golfing. Stayed up late and watched far too many movies. Last night, as the countdown to the New Year began, we took turns telling our favorite memories of 2011 and at one point, I mentioned to each of them that I was not involved in most of their best memories. Yeesh. I was feeling pretty crabby about that but then I realized that this was the gift that a year of unemployment gave us. It gave our boys and their dad time to make memories together and to spend time together that would not have happened otherwise.
For me, as I look back on 2011, I think of a year without church. I'm not bashing the church, a church, Church...for the record... but I will say what a restful year it's been. And, truthfully, it's allowed me and God time to make memories together and to spend time together that would not have happened otherwise. He's met me in some pretty unorthodox places, particularly in a van driving neighbours' party guests home after a long night of drinking...on the floor of a multimillion dollar store perpetuating consumerism, in the eyes of a bare headed, bare handed woman hitchhiking in -20 weather, at the rink, in a low income housing project, even at home on my third day of crying in pyjamas. I've spent the year figuring out what the heck do I really believe? Why? Maybe most importantly, what the heck does that have to do with what we do on Sundays in a building down the road? I don't have more answers, mostly more questions, but I did come away with this. I think when God looks at me, he sees me in focus just like when I look at this photo of Easton. Easton is all I can distinguish in the photograph...everything else is a blurry backdrop to the one that I care most about. I know the setting and the circumstances of what surrounds Easton but all I care about is that he is loving life, life that we gave him...and to the fullest, just as promised. (John 10:10) I think when God looks at me, he maybe laughs a little that I don't often have my arms outstretched to the life that is whizzing by me, but maybe I'm a little whiteknuckled on the safety bar. And I think He knows that I am loving life and remember who gave it to me, along with a promise, that we will have it to the fullest.


Kristal Dawn said...

Beautiful. I love the imagery of Easton's picture and our lives. Happy New Year, Shel.

Jason, Shelly, Aidan and Easton said...

<3 you, Mrs. Hoff.