thank you for the days of 2012

Everyone is tucked in soundly at my home.  I am sitting at a candle lit kitchen table enjoying some silence and a few minutes to read and write.  We had a busy day with errands and enjoying some advances in our family's financial plan.  Financial Peace University is working.

Three thoughts, as has become customary, on this last evening of 2012:

1.  We began a new tradition tonight with a New Years Eve dinner.  We mapped out some goals for our family as well as each individual.  We put them to paper with the thought that we will revisit them next year to see how we have fared.  Putting goals to paper has power.  I can honestly say that taking this action has paid dividends in years past.  It is exciting to see lists from years ago where I have grown where I intentionally asked and sought to.  We are growing or we are dying.  It was also quite remarkable to reflect on all of the life our family enjoyed over the year.  I was impressed that among our three children I heard goals of being more kind to siblings, praying and reading scripture more, starting a new sport, and improving manners. 

2.  I read the following from Merton's No Man is an Island yesterday.  It haunts me:

Most of the moral and mental and even religious complexities of our time go back to desperate fear that we are not and can never be loved by anyone. ... The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them. 

I read vitriolic commentary earlier this week which tackled the awful events in Connecticut and the alleged silliness of calling on God for healing.  I understand how one would question where God is in such horror.  In the case of seemingly God forsaken atrocities, the fair question exists: how can God possibly love mankind?  While atrocities present troubling questions of faith, Merton may point us to the greatest obstacle to communion with God.  Our own self hatred.  It is deceivingly subtle.  Perhaps a disassociative state of ennui, consumerism, and quiet self loathing which has at its root the simple and obvious - profound disconnect from the Divine.  Thoreau described many men as living lives of little more than quiet desperation.  This desperation is satiated with none other than His grace and an unabashed submission to Divine will.   

3.  I seek more growth in the coming year.  Jessica and I have started on Bonhoeffer's small book on the Psalter, and I am incredibly excited about working through it together.  I have written down more well developed personal goals for the year and if you have not done so, I urge you to consider it.  I am deeply grateful for the rest that has been given over the past month.  As St. Benedict urges, onward with prayer and work in the coming year!

Ryan

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