January is a time for looking into the future. At work we are making and tweaking our plans for 2011. In our personal life, we make resolutions or wonder what the next year is going to be like. In our home life, we get out the family calendar and talk about who is going to be where and when. On particularly cold or gloomy days, we may try to envision a vacation plan.
Sometimes this looking into the future helps me. Having a plan often enables me to feel less anxious. Then there are days like yesterday, when looking into the future just plain freaked me out. When I thought about all that needed to happen in the next 6 months, it felt like someone had just deposited a heavy bowling ball in my backpack.
All this thinking into the future is a good thing. And so is being grateful for simply having enough light for the next step. Henri Nouwen writes:Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, "How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?" There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go.
Reading these words makes the bowling ball a little lighter.
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