Thoughts on 2018

It is nearly time to bid farewell to another year. And it is therefore time, in what I have decided counts as tradition, to write a reflective blog post for the year’s end.

Back in January, I had two terms of Cambridge to finish, exams to be preparing for, and an unknown life in London awaiting me post-graduation. Now, Cambridge seems a world away, buried under ever-increasing nostalgia and visible only through rose-tinted specs, and London’s charms and frayed edges are my immediate preoccupation.

It is strange looking back on the year because there is a very real sense in which I feel like I have lived two lives. A very settled, if not also very busy, Cambridge life which regularly featured a squirrel outside the window of Clough 117 as we distractedly worked our way through finals; and a very new, if not also very wonderful, London life working in an office with the Thames outside the window (but sadly no squirrel).

I am very proud of all that has happened this year. I worked healthily, graduated happily, became a pilgrim, and found my feet after moving house/church/job/city. I feel immensely grateful.

On a more serious note, in Thoughts on 2016, I wrote about life’s indeterminacy, and last year, I wrote about life’s richness. And this year, I feel I have seen more of both these things.

More of life’s indeterminacy: friends facing unexpected grief, increasing concern about climate breakdown, and the precarity of a political outlook coloured by memories of a small child reciting a housing bidding number and a phone call telling someone they wouldn’t be rehoused in time for Christmas. And yet, also more of life’s richness: a gratitude moulded by a greater appreciation of what could have been, and a hope for what could be.

This week I saw the following quote:

“This is the central Christian mystery. Life has, for all its horror, been found by God to be worth dying for.”

Flannery O’Connor

It leads me to this year’s reflection, a reflection on life’s significance.

For all the horror of life, for all thoughts in despair or pleading which wonder if there is meaning, reason or rhyme to life, I believe we are answered by the great love of God.

Whatever horror, rejection, oppression, exclusion, or uncertainty we face, I believe it remains true that we do matter and we are loved.

I believe that in God’s great love we are found worthy. We are known to be more than the worst thing we do, and we are honoured for our best. More than ever, I believe what we do, however small it seems, counts. I believe who we are, however small we feel, matters.

We may have heard it said that life is worth fighting for. I love that God has found life worth dying for: it is the joy and hope and peace of this truth that I am most grateful for as I look back, and that I am hopeful with as I look forwards to 2019.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!