Monday, January 01, 2007
Welcome to 2007
Happy New Year everyone. I have to say that so far I'm a fan of 2007. While it was my first New Year's in NYC rather than in Ottawa, and while I missed my Ottawans (thanks so much for the huge "Happy New Year" over the phone last night, and hellos especially to Megan and Dawn), I still felt happy and generally optimistic about the future.
A number of people at the party asked how my job interviews went last week; I haven't blogged much about my job search process out of a desire to keep it somewhat private (though I've put some "friends-only" stuff up on my LiveJournal -- but not anything that you haven't heard directly from me anyway). While those (and the results from those) are occupying a lot of my thoughts, that's not so much of a big deal.
Mostly I feel a quiet assurance that no matter what happens this year, I will be able to make it work. (The clock radio just came on -- Joe Cocker's version of "With a little help from my friends" -- fitting, eh? You guys are the greatest.)
This is also my first New Year's as a Catholic (or at least a soon-to-be Catholic). I went down to the 7.30 pm mass before the party. During the mass I felt a feeling of utter ease, of my future being in God's hands, and that God will give me the strength to take on whatever ups and downs come along.
I was also really moved by the reading from Samuel, about Hannah, who prayed for a son and was given one. She says, "I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD." This reminded me of Abraham and Sarah praying for a child, being given Isaac, but then A. being commanded by God to sacrifice Isaac. Hannah, on the other hand, freely gives back to God what she has been given. Just 'cause, you know, that's what one does.
This story made me think about my job and career worries in a different way. I'd been trying as much as possible to think of my job prospects as things I shouldn't get my hopes up over. Or thinking that I don't deserve a good job when there are so many better candidates. Or thinking that I don't have a right to hope. (Sure, these may sound silly, but who is ever fully rational in appraising their next career move?) Hannah's story made me think instead that of course it was perfectly fine to pray to God for what I want; and then if it works out, I am then able to dedicate it as service to God. Teaching young people to be reflective and critical (not just in a nihilist and relativist sense, but properly and carefully critical) is a wonderful service.
Anyway, just some pre-coffee early New Year's thoughts.
I'll close with one of my favourite NT passages, 1 Thessalonians 5.14-22 -- the tone of rejoicing and seeking the good is, I think, a good place to begin my New Year's (plus, those of you who want can mentally take out the second half of line 18, and consider the rest of it good advice in general. ;) )
14 We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all.
15 See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good (both) for each other and for all.
16 Rejoice always.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not despise prophetic utterances.
21 Test everything; retain what is good.
22 Refrain from every kind of evil.
Peace be with you all.
jane 9:25 AM [+]