New Year’s Eve.

It’s special to me. My throat tightens when I hear that song.  When I hear the collective voices in New York City singing “auld lang syne” after the ball drops and the new year has been rung in ( of course this is all watched on our TV because what person in what’s-left-after-Christmas mind would ever go to a freezing place lacking in facilities with her kids and family?!).

I hold back tears as people exchange kisses, as confetti is flies, as party horns are blasted. Across the miles, states, countries, and continents, even in the most remote places there is celebrating around fires and even in the quietest places.

I think about the one alone in the nursing home, who even though she may not speak she remembers so vividly.

I think about the one in Malawi, surrounded by her brothers and sisters and entire extended family, in the dusk of the night, they pound out the corn just like they did the day before that, and they celebrate.

I think about the one in pain. Who before 2013 things were just fine. Now the whole world is upside down. She wonders if anyone knows how terrified she is.

I think about the overcomer, tears streaming because she made it through it…she made it through it.

I think about the one who knows that there is sadness coming in 2014. Those papers. The finalization. The fragmentation. Her family taking a new shape and including people she never imagined it would need to include.

I think about the one who breathed her most sensitive secret to the only soul she trust on earth. Her resolution, to let it go, to let them know, to grow out of shame.

And I think about us.
I think about the mix of emotions that we experienced this year.
Even with the lowest low.
I can only say one thing.

My God.
You have been SO GENEROUS with us.
I can only THANK YOU.

For two active and excited little girls, gifts who teach us every day what love looks like with skin on.
For one man of valor, a husband of sacrifice and of vision.
For a missional community, a place to grow and serve as a full time vocation (Highland Park).
For an influential identity, youth ministry has given me a platform to love the brains and the hearts of young people, students, and leaders.
For dreams come true, two more books to add to a legacy that I hope will be catalysts for hearts being drawn to and reconnected with God and with their neighbors.

So I sing the song. I’d be lying if I told you I knew the words.
But the sounds of it say “the old times of last year speak”.
They tell a story that is our story.
They are our cup of cheer and our cup of grief.
And all of it is our story to continue as long as their is breath in our lungs, that
it means something.

Life has so much meaning.
It’s infused with the breathe of God
as we’ve been created to love and receive love.

Every person, no matter where she celebrates, can sit at that
table, where their Creator waits. Whether we run there.
We hid there. We dance there. We cry there.

There is always room there.

And the song reminds us that the tradition of story telling
should go on. In us. For another year.

And, just in case you’d like to know the words that
we mumble in between the auld lang syne’s. Here they
are my dear. Sing them with cheer.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

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