Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let Not Your Minds Turn Back

I posted this video last year for New Year's Day, and I'm posting it again because it's still applicable.

In the last year, I have lived in Romania, visited London and Ireland, spent three weeks in Mexico, started working as a research assistant, campaigned in Colorado for the President, applied for and gotten accepted with Teach For America, decided on a career path in social work, formed meaningful relationships with professors, and had graduate school offers.

A lot happened in 2012.

A lot has happened in my life. I realized this semester that I have moved 17 times since turning 18 and graduating from high school. Basically, I'm a gypsy. I'm OK with that, since I happen to love gypsies.

2013 will be marked by transitions. I will be graduating from college, moving halfway across the country, and I will spend the summer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I will begin two years teaching middle school Communication Arts in Kansas City. I will have health and dental insurance. I will be a salaried employee. I will have my own classroom. I will be a thousand miles from family, and yet have people I consider family close by. I will be back in the place I grew to love as a missionary.

2012 was a time of personal growth, change, and acceptance. It was a time of upheaval, transition, and understanding. 2012 taught me that God lives in a small hospital in Iasi, Romania, that children are incredibly resilient, and that great beauty can be found in service. 2012 left me a little bit scarred -- both physically and emotionally. It also left me stronger. It gave me an increased desire to change the world.

I do not know all that 2013 will hold for me. It's going to be a surprise. I'll be in new places with new people, and it will be where I want and am suppose to be. It will be hard and unfamiliar. There may be times when I want nothing more than to go back to Provo, which is a strange thought. But, it is time to look forward. It is time to build on the past, not pine for it. The New Year brings with it the inherent development of resolutions. I don't like making resolutions because they are too easily broken. Each day ought to be an opportunity for a resolution. Perhaps, I will develop New Day's Resolutions.

In a religion class I took this semester, there is a verse that says, "Let not your minds turn back..." So often, that is what religion and life call us to do. In studying Nietzsche this semester, I have learned the role of suffering in helping call us to a higher way a life, a way of life that does not allow us to look back, does not allow us to view our suffering as evil. Suffering is a part of life because creation begets suffering. In order for us to create new selves, we must suffer. Change is a process of suffering. The Gospel of Jesus Christ compels us to change, to suffer, and to progress. 

In asserting that suffering is necessary to existence, I in no way encourage seeking out suffering. That idea is also condemned by Nietzsche. Rather, what I am advocating is a sense of amor fati, a love and acceptance of one's fate. It is an attitude of "Come what may, and love it."  

And so, I wish you each a Happy New Year. May it be full of opportunities for growth, even if those opportunities mean experiencing physical or emotional pain. May you embrace those opportunities out of a love for life, and not shun them out of resentment. I wish for you to make New Day Resolutions, and to stick with them. Do not go quietly into that dark night. Above all, remember that this is still a beautiful world