The bright colors of this quilt I finished this week puts me in mind to look at the new year with a bright hope. The new year brings new things: seasons, experiences, opportunities, goals, etc… With the turning of the calendar, I think of New Year’s resolutions, which are mostly a concerted effort to improve my life or others. I plan out personal goals and writing/publishing goals, but also something bothers me. When I think of the new year right around the corner, I am excited and hopeful for what lies ahead but also fearful; I’m being honest.
These last few months I’ve seen a dive in my physical strength. I have to do every activity—which requires standing—in increments of about ten minutes. That’s how long I can be upright without feeling like I’m going to collapse, and by that time the muscles in my middle are basically spasming, adding to my weakness. It’s discouraging, and I wonder how long it will be before I have to leave my home, which is multi-level and not conducive to using a wheelchair.
My biggest fears in life basically boil down to my health and its steady decline. Not long ago, I read a book by a doctor with MS. He said that even cancer patients are given the hope of remission and recovery. No such hope is extended to people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. An eventual slide into the abyss of immobility, weakness, and numbness will take over. How long that declining journey takes is individual. It paints a humbling picture of needing help with managing the very basic functions of life. As it is, my husband now cuts my meat and carries my dinner plate and does a 100 other things for me, like I’m a child. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very appreciative for his assistance.
Why am I talking about this? I guess to say: something new can be scary. My mind battles with setting aside my fear to embrace the hope of newness, like spring rain and sunshine causing the trees to bud and the flowers to bloom. It strikes me: new life takes both the sun and the rain—brightness and shadow. This visual image reminds that what we deem as darkness and fear can have a purpose in our lives. It has the potential to drown us with paralyzing worries or to help us grow, grooving out a deep character, which comes from trials.
My fear diminishes when I can equate something good coming out of something painful or unpleasant. This verse from James 1:4,5 came to mind— “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” This trial of ill health and fear can produce something good in me, if I let it. It can produce patience, which I’ve always had in short supply. I see patience working in my life like a potter’s hands forming a clay pot. The ridges and rings of life smooth out under the touch of patience as the wheel turns, eventually ending up with a whole, completed vessel–me.
So I put on my Pollyanna attitude (I watched that movie a couple of days ago) and gladly look forward to this new year. It’s an opportunity to love, learn, and grow and to let patience have her perfect work in me.
Blessing on your New Year! J