A New Year

It’s 2007. There’s one thing I missed about crossing over to a new year, and that’s writing in my journal.

See, since I started keeping a diary when I was about 9 years old, I always made an entry on the 31st of December no matter how infrequently I had journaled during the year. There’s something about the end of a year that has always made me pensive.

This time around there was simply no opportunity to journal or blog anything substantial because I was on the road and with my family the entire time. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have any chance to reflect. In some different ways, I did. If there’s one thing interesting about my family, it’s how we have ‘family meetings’. My mom has always been a proponent of communicating… no matter how pleasant or unpleasant the experience may be. :P

Well, during this trip, my family (with Zibin and Cathy on board as well) had plenty of opportunity to bond, interact, communicate, and yes… get on each other’s nerves. We laughed and played with all our hearts (Settlers of Catan has become our favourite game, and an attempt at Cranium had us rolling around in laughter). We bonded over food. We prayed together. Exchanged personal reflections and debated over philosophical and academic topics. We even faced some conflicts head-on instead of brushing it under the carpet.

Family. I’ve been in one for almost 28 years, but I’ve recently made some startling new discoveries about what family is, and a bit more about what it means to be in one. As I mentioned in a previous entry, there’s the glory, and there’s the pain. Few people and things can hurt and affect our identity and lives as family members can. We all bear the wounds from each other’s failings. But in the same breath, there is no substitute for family. And even the smallest gesture of love from someone in the family can be felt and magnified a hundredfold.

My family is a work in progress. I understand now that it was always meant to be this way… and that while none of us may know what lies ahead, and while broken hearts and broken faith are yet to be mended, we all bear a common hope. That hope is born of love. Fragile it may be, but it is present nonetheless.

2006 held a wealth of life lessons for me. Extremely important and wonderful life lessons about love. And yet, in the big picture of life, those lessons that had felt like they cost so much at the time, are but a drop in the ocean of experiences and wisdom to be gained. I say that not with resignation or despair, but with a newfound peace that comes with a growing understanding about life.

Life is messy and difficult, but it is full of promise if I only know how to look.

Of all the things I learned in 2006, there is one lesson that stands out for me above all others. And that is this: To learn to heed the inner voice of love – that voice which calls me The Beloved. To look deep within myself and to find there the clarity to see the purpose of my life in every little thing I set out to do.

That one lesson has changed the way I perceive everything in my life. I still stumble, and I still cry with frustration at times. But I have changed, I think. I hope and pray that the new Ann that steps into 2007 will be faithful.

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