We try dieing to ourselves. It sounds easy, death often comes quickly, but not this kind. This death to self, and life for another, this is hard. It bears burdens and trials. We are tested by flames and pushed past our patience. We have moments, desire to flee from this life back to the comforts we once knew, the ones we once sacrificed. Can we pick them up again? Do we really want to or is it just a momentary weakness?
We go into another year of living a life of sacrifice, knowing that these struggles will only gather as we plunge farther into a life of Christ; and we are excited. There is already so much planned, and knowing us those plans will change. There are already three weddings involving us, our community, and it is day three of 2011. There are planned moves and new initiatives in the works. Talks of furthering education, leaving of jobs, going full time into ministry. Men are talking about joining our mess of an adventure and living with us in community. They bring ideas. We have set out to further our efforts in self-sustainability by planning an incredible ecosystem in our front yard. We talk about engineering a way to fit more people in our humble house so we can invite more into our community. We talk about how we can be more involved with our surrounding community and push others to join our efforts and pick up the passions we have accumulated along the way. We translate our love of Jesus into a language that not many hear in Western Christianity. It involves loving of neighbors as well as loving compost heaps in our front yard (and in our frustration we can look at them as the same). This language that baffles me calls to a life that considers the way we impact the lives of our brothers and sisters, as well as the way we impact the very earth we stand upon. It is a rich language.
So as we set upon this quest and christen this adventure of 2011 I have to ask myself if I am up for it? I have to look at myself and wonder if I will make it. This past year was both difficult and amazing. I have suffered much and yet have never known such joy. There will be difficult conversations and pivotal decisions all of which promise to be life changing and all of which will contain elements of pain and joy. I am beginning to think that one does not come without the other. The only comforts that come with this knowledge are these: that I have Jesus, and I have my community. Without either, I know I could not survive.
And so we set sail, and what better way to christen the New Year than with that which is fitting of our neighborhood. There are no champagne bottles to break, but bullets to fall, and so with this bullet that has fallen into the toolbox of my truck I take it as a push out into the unpredictable year of 2011.