“It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”
– Charlotte Brontë, from Jane Eyre
My dear friends,
It is the new year. It is officially 2018. It has been for eleven days now.
I cannot explain to you in language capable of understanding the change that I have undergone these twelve months past. I know without doubt, inspection, or clarification that I am not the same young lady who stepped into the 2017.
It is a new year. A new year it certainly has been. I seem to be slipping away from my old self more and more. The funny thing is that it does not feel bad. I have never felt so free to shed my old clothes. To wrestle out of my old skin, squirming and wrestling my way into new life. A new year has made a new me.
I will not bore you with a post of many words or an obnoxious sob story about how much I accomplished last year.
Quite on the contrary.
A new year calls for new things. Already, before my very eyes, I have begun to shed old habits and develop new interests, thoughts, and opinions.
A new year calls for new theology.
I have begun to understand the truth about and depths of God’s eternal love for me. As a young Christian growing up in America, I have always known of God’s great power, Divine nature, and unspeakable authority; I have never truly studied His never-ending love. Directly, I see a change in the way I live. I walk with a new faith in a God who loves unconditionally. A God who is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness. A God named Jesus who loves me above all others. He goes before me, and I do not fear, for He will never leave me nor forsake me. He said before leaving this earth, “Lo, I am with you always.”
A new year calls for new heroes.
In this short time, I have found new mentors, confidantes, and friends who are beginning to shape me into someone I did not even know I could become. I have engrossing and delightful conversations with Jane Eyre on rainy days. Dietrich Bonhoeffer sits with me in my bedroom, and we discuss theology and discipleship for hours. Elizabeth Bennet comes to tea, and her courtship with a certain Mr. Darcy is always our favorite topic. I have begun to make the acquaintance of Mr. Sydney Carton, and although he is quite the alcoholic, his troubled yet sweet, pleasing soul is the thing I best love about him. All these friends have gathered around me, and with them I am becoming quite the lover of stories, universal truths, and moral genius.
A new year calls for new adventures.
Before my very eyes life-changing quests and heists are being laid in front of me. I have just been told that this very summer I shall be at Oxford University studying literature and creative writing for two whole weeks in the Oxford Summer Program. How excited I am for this I cannot express to you; only my Father in Heaven can truly understand how ecstatic I am to step onto the cobble-stone streets of a university that is perhaps over nine hundred years old and one that I only thought lived in my dreams. May is the month of my high-school graduation. I have already begun working toward my Associates degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
A new year calls for new interests.
I have begun to fall in love with art, literature, and writing. Riding horses is taking a new turn, as well. As of yesterday, I am riding a horse named Harry who is such a sweetheart: willing to please, amiable, bold, and everything a horse ought to be. He’s practically an angel, and my instructor says I will learn much from him. I cannot wait. Claude Monet is a favorite with me now, and I hope I may get to visit an art museum in the coming year. Austen, Brontë (Charlotte, of course), and Dickens are my new favorite authors, and reading their books is like diving headfirst into another world. I am currently reading A Tale of Two Cities.
A new year calls for new resolutions.
Now, I come to you, my dear readers. Meine lieben Freunden (that is German for, “my dear friends”)! I know I have ceased to blog consistently, yet that is something I wish to change in the coming year. I am seeing in myself someone new. I know that this blog must also become new and change alongside myself. Therefore—I will not promise anything—but my goal is to write a post every two weeks and end the year with twenty-four (give or take) posts. As for my German, that is another matter entirely, yet it is on my resolution. I do intend to learn to speak fluent German. If it is good enough for Dietrich, it is good enough for me.
My friends, I know with every fiber of my being that this year is going to be one of the best I have ever had. No, the best year for all of us. Every year is a good year. I feel like everyone seems to look back when they enter a new year. They always contemplate and spend hours in reverie over the past twelve months. I know because that’s what I did last year, the year before that, the year before that, and—gee, come to think of it—the year before that. Obviously, I’ve always looked back. By no means am I saying that to look back is unscrupulous. Nay, on the contrary. It is looking back that gives us the courage to move forward. However, this year, I have seemed to put more emphasis on going forward. I am becoming a new person, a young lady blossoming into a young woman (heavens, not yet), and an encourage-er looking for kindred spirits to encourage.
Let us not become exhausted and worn over looking at our blunders, flaws, and mistakes from last year, but let us look ahead. It is the dawn of a new day, the rise of a new era. We have begun something new. Let us face it eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder. We will not cower or turn away.
To encourage you all, I have found a lovely little poem written by that good friend of mine Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which he wrote only a little while before he was executed by the Nazis. It was composed in January of 1945 while he was in prison in Berlin:
New Year 1945
With every power for good to stay and guide me,
Comforted and inspired beyond all fear,
I’ll live these days with you in thought beside me,
And pass, with you, into the coming year
The old year still torments our hearts, unhastening;
The long days of sorrow still endure;
Father, grant to the souls thou hast been chastening
That thou hast promised, the healing and the cure.
Should it be ours to drain the cup of grieving
Even to the dregs of pain, at thy command,
We will not falter, thankfully receiving
All that is given by thy loving hand.
But should it be thy will once more to release us
To life’s enjoyment and its good sunshine,
That which we’ve learned from sorrow shall increase us,
And all our life be dedicate to thine.
Today, let candles shed their radiant greetings;
Lo, on our darkness are they not thy light
Leading us, haply, to our longed-for meeting?
Thou canst illumine even our darkest night.
When now the silence deepens for our hearkening,
Grant we may hear thy children’s voices raise
From all the unseen world around us darkening
Their universal paean, in thy praise.
While all the powers of good aid and attend us,
Boldly, we’ll face the future, come what may.
At even and at morn God will befriend us,
And oh, most surely on each newborn day!
Be encouraged, my dear friends! God is always with us and goes before us. Whatever we are walking into, let us take heart. God is with us and will always hold our hands in His.
One thing I am planning on doing this year is taking you all on my adventures with me. Hold on tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
P.S. I did create my cosplay for Star Wars, and wore it on opening night. Best. Moments. Ever. I’ll share with you all in the next post; I’m off to bed! 🙂