Thursday, January 02, 2003

Dare to Journey On

Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting
The soul that knows it not, knows no release
From little things.
- Amelia Earhart

The whole world celebrates another new year. Bintang walk was pounding with sweaty bodies last night and fireworks blazed the sky. I watched musical performances on TV from different parts of the globe, all emanating with cultural beauty and hope for humanity. But deep down I wondered, How is a new year with all its uncertainties anything to celebrate at all? Rolling over into a new year is always a fearsome event for me.

Crossing the invisible line from 2002 to 2003 is more like crawling through a landmine than racing for the finish line. With so many goals unachieved and mistakes I regret, how do I put the year past behind me? And when I think of the challenges and uncertainties ahead, where do I find the courage to face the future? How do I make it across the barbed field from yesterday's should-haves and tomorrow's what-ifs?

Freedom from the past

Guilt and regret is what keeps us trapped in the past, says Nouwen: `The past and the future keep harassing us. The past with guilt, the future with worries. So many things have happened in our lives about which we feel uneasy, regretful. Angry, confused, or, at least, ambivalent. And all these feelings are often coloured by guilt. Guilt that says: "You ought to have done something other than what you did.. These "oughts".. prevent us from being fully present to the moment.' To get to the starting line, I must shut the gates on yesterday. All the failures and regrets that bear down on me - things I should have done in 2002 and things I shouldn't have - must be dumped overboard like rotten cargo. Let's forgive ourselves and embrace the grace that is offered to us so that we may begin again. Bid farewell to yesterday. The day of redemption is today!

Vision for the future

The trumpet call for tomorrow beckons us from afar. And it also grips us from within. We can hear our hearts echo the words of Sam Gamgee as he left the Shire in the Fellowship of the Ring:

`I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I
know I can't turn back.. I don't rightly know what I want: but I have
something to do before the end, and it lies ahead.'

To get to the heart of my destiny, I must reaffirm my identity (who am I?) and rediscover my core values (what do I care deeply about?). What is it that I live for? What is my passion? What captivates my heart and fires up my imagination? When I know who I am in God's eyes, and what I am built for - I can walk towards the vision that God has given me and march to the drumbeat of my own heart.

Courage to press on

Before we even take a step into the new year, fears and doubts will clamour for our attention:
`There are too many uncertainties to live by dreams!'
`It's too risky to put everything into what I believe.'
`It's too hard to be different.'
`What if I fail?'

In the Bible, when the Israelites heard reports of the giants of Philistine, they cowered, their vision of the Promised Land dwarfed in comparison, and they wound up in the desert for 40 years. They exchanged their inheritance for fears. On the brink of the land of milk and honey, they turned back and became a generation of withering and lostness. Perhaps it's easier to storm the walls of Jericho like Joshua when people are looking and the throngs are cheering on. But when there is no audience and no cheerleaders, nobody feels like being a hero. `Will I ever succeed?' `Can I make it?' `Should I even try?' Let me tell you this - to move forward when no one is looking is what true courage is. Courage is to act out the invisible thoughts of our mind. Armed with a prayer and the strength that God gives; you need only take a step towards the vision in your mind. As writer and politician, George Konrad, in communist Hungary once said, 'Courage is only an accumulation of small steps.'

There is nothing more sad than a spanking new ship that never sets sail. A ship is safe in the port but that's not what it's built for. All our best resolutions would be nothing more than an exercise of the imagination if we didn't leave the harbour of yesteryear. Raise your sails and start the voyage today!


Post a Comment

<< Home