Though I feel no particularly loyalty to the Gregorian calendar, nor do I feel it appropriate to make resolutions at such a period, this wintry change of the dates at least as far as the conventional time system of our day and age at least allows me an easily recognized opportunity to engage in reflection during a period that I find very reflective that will last at least for three more months or so. As this is an acceptable time to take stock of where one has been and where one wishes to go, I would like to make some appropriate comments about what has been a particularly strange and odd year as far as I am concerned.
There are many cross-currents to the themes that kept on getting hammered over and over again that make this year a particularly difficult one to tease out. Ironies abounded, as they often do, but they were not pleasantly humorous ironies but deeply serious ones. The moral and political positions of a missionary teacher in insecure conditions ended up provoking the insecurities of a wide variety of others, some on very similar ground and some on very different ground, and the end result was a very unexpected move to a place where there were a few old friends and a great many people to make new friends with. It was a year where reading and reviewing books proved hazardous in one circumstance and beneficial in building connections with others, a year where slandering from ministry was a major feature of a difficult life similar and yet different to 2010. It was a year where the different areas of my life met in strange and bizarre ways, where what appeared to be divine providence of one kind ended up providing divine providence of a different and totally unexpected way.
One thing that 2012 proved to me, at least to my satisfaction, was that I am a brave and courageous person who will not let insecurity of position affect standing up for what is right. But perhaps more importantly than that, it showed me that I was more compassionate to those on “the other side” and more understanding of their own decency and humanity, and even if that did not change the nature of my struggles and conflicts (especially the often ferocious struggle to defend my own reputation from slander and calumny), it at least made me see that the people on the other side were people even more sensitive and insecure than I. In fact, insecurity as a whole was a fairly dominant theme, whether it involves insecurity of one’s conditions, dependency on the favor of friends and divine providence, as well as the shifting political and geopolitical ground upon which our hopes and aspirations rest. Never before have I felt so big and so small at the same time and in such wildly clashing ways.
And yet these cross currents and stresses have not made me feel depressed, even if I am deeply reflective. Rather, they have showed me how my own concerns and experiences fit into a larger picture, even as I work and wait to see what the resolution will be of my own personal concerns and examine the larger tragic scope of my times and find that my own struggles are mirrored in those of many other people in many different lands whose modest ambitions are threatened by the insecurity of officeholders and the rising tide of ideological violence. In many ways, this past year seemed a bit of a prologue, as novel characters and incidents were introduced of uncertain importance in my life (and that of others), without any kind of resolution. I do not know where this is going, but at least I know I’m not going alone. And there is some comfort in that even in the deep uncertainty that I find myself in.