As the clock strikes twelve and people all around me burst into celebration, I ask myself, 'what exactly does this whole new year thing mean'? I used to think that every new year is an end of the previous phase of life and the beginning of a new chapter, but I've since come to realise that if there are any division in chapters in this book we call life, it is not by time.
If we think about it, nothing really changes. Whatever troubles we have been facing we still face, whatever joys we partake in we still do so. The tick of the second to midnight is no different from all other seconds before it and all other seconds that are to come. The calender of course, is but a construct of man.
If you ask me, a new year is more like a marker. Like birthdays. They don't really mean anything but if you're gonna keep track of time, that's how you're gonna do it. The new year is also a marker reminding people to reflect upon the year that has passed and the look ahead at what is to come.
This past year had been like no other. I don't know how but it just seems that every year I keep saying that the previous year was the most 'game breaking' year. I do know though that this year has its fair share of things that caused paradigm shifts in my life, and on hindsight though it had been a very challenging year, I wouldn't have had it any other way. I've experienced much that I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I had not been through all these.
(Perhaps you'd want to share with me what were the highlights for you this past year, I'd love to know, and I'll share with you mine in greater detail!)
Anyway, I mentioned previously that each new year is but a marker. The world does see it as a marker to separate things too though (a new school year starts on 2nd jan for example), so in a way there is a significance to every new year.
For us NSF though, such things would matter less as it all depends on our enlistment dates. I however have been placed in a position of graduating from SCS towards the end of december (and having a nice long break all the way till the new year begins), so with the exception of my half day on Christmas eve on which nothing much was really done, I really start my first day as an instructor on 2nd jan. That combined with some other things that have changed recently and things that have always been present but have been brought to my attention, this new year promises to be a year full of new challenges.
So it is with both anticipation and anxiety that I begin this new year. Its always tough to be put in an environment which is foreign to you. Somewhere you're still uncomfortable with, where you don't know what to do and what could happen next. Yet, it promises to be exciting. Many new things to learn, people to meet (and hopefully leave a positive imprint on), lessons to learn.
Its 2013, four digits that still feel foreign as I type them down. What will this year bring? Well, I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.
Something that has been on my heart that I'd like to mention before I go off. I've spent a large part of time since the day I got my rank with people from DI. In fact, with the exception of Christmas eve, I've seen them every single day up till the point we counted down to the new year and then headed home. Sometimes it was for a shorter duration such as prayer meeting, dinner and then home, sometimes it was for an entire day.
I love the community. I feel fully comfortable here. In DI, I can be a rather loud individual with crazy ideas, which is really quite the opposite of how I usually am. These are people who really understand, really care, and would walk two miles for me if I asked them to walk a mile. Being in the presence of the people who I love and I know love me is enough, sometimes no words are necessary. I thought of going over to justin's house for the new year sleepover even though I know I was just going to sleep the whole way because even in sleeping I know it is with them and in waking up I would find myself in the midst of them.
I ask myself though, what does DI mean to me? What does it mean to all of us?
Because in this community of lovely, epic, awesome people who matter the life to us, if for one second we find that they are the primary reason we find ourselves in DI, we created an idol.
As a friend of mine put it, we are fun people, but we are more than fun people. We must see each other as what God sees, with spiritual eyes and not by fleshly sight.
I won't say we could ever take God out of our relationships in DI, that is honestly quite impossible. Actually, I won't even say that we do prioritize our relationships in the community over God. nor that we have really done what I said above about creating an idol, but I am suggesting that we have this line before us and we had better be careful to not step over it.
Why this sudden thought you may ask? Well, I asked myself, for almost every single day I met these people, how have I encouraged them in their faith journey? Yes we know its not about speaking, that it is really more about our actions. I know we need not specifically ask them about their faith journey to be encouraging them as opposed to perhaps simply showing concern, or being a light, rubbing off on one another.
Yet I still propose the question, every time we hang out, what does it mean to us?
And perhaps its a question you should ask yourself. What is my role here in this community? Why am I here? What is my God given purpose in this place, in this position? Hopefully, every single one of us can answer this question with confidence, and in remembering it we will prevent such an idol from ever being created. It's actually really a personal thing, not a community thing.
For myself, I'm looking to step up my game, no major changes, just some tweaking. Beyond inside jokes, fun and laughter, loving people who love me (even the most dastardly people do that), feeling good, making others feel good, I'd like to really see lives grow and rise up. That we will truly develop a relationship of what we are supposed to be, brothers (and sisters) in arms, fighting a war.
As I ponder all these for the past week or so, at watch night service Jem's dad's words really struck me hard. It really affirmed everything that I had been thinking about, and I recognised the need to pick up this responsibility, for if we don't who will?
So I will continue to laugh and be crazy and enjoy this precious blessed gift from God in my life, while simultaneously remembering that we are more than just best buds, we're best buds on a mission which will affect all of eternity.