Right now, I’m residing in the minority because I don’t look back on 2016 with a disgusted face and a “good riddance” gesture. I’m not naïve though – I’ve digested much of the pain of this past year. I’ve prayed prayers with words – without – exasperated, unsure. I’ve looked at the state of our world and wondered how we could continue – so broken, used up, emptied.
But I’m safe. I’m loved. I don’t pretend to understand the unbearable hardships that my neighbors face. That we, together – apart – wake up to seemingly every day. What’s the appropriate response? Anger unceasing? Heated words proclaiming our stance? Hiding? Feigning ignorance?
Unfortunately we’ve determined that nobody’s answer is right except our own. So no, I don’t run breathlessly away from this past year into the welcoming arms of 2017. The calendar year is arbitrary in the war on human suffering. We won’t wake up tomorrow healed. And try as we may, we cannot wash away the suffering with our words on social media, no matter how passionate or perfectly articulated. Yet still we judge and we throw daggers and we compound the suffering with our angry words masquerading as righteousness. I’m inclined to believe there’s a better way.
If only we were to love as Christ loved. Many scoff at the thought, tainted by poor examples. But Christians are imperfect students of Christ – the likeness is far from mirror image. May we ache for the hurting to be pointed past us, toward Christ, the perfect example. Christ who acknowledged the multitudes and fed them; who cared for the broken. Who stopped and paid attention. Who loves us when we find ourselves dirty, hopeless, mistaken, and angry. Can you imagine if collectively we decided this was the answer? If every person believed in Christ’s example; surrendered to His method – His love. Picture the multitudes that could be fed; the orphanages emptied. The people loved. So, let tomorrow be another day for pointing past ourselves: Another day to acknowledge our neighbor. The person beside us and the person within us bear scars of different origin, but they’re scars all the same. Friends, we want the same things.