Thoughts on 2019

Another year has gone. Once again I find myself amazed and bewildered by how much can change, and yet how quickly change turns into routine. 18 months out and Cambridge is already ‘two lives’ ago.

As I compiled the photos in this post I was struck by a profound sense of gratitude. I am incredibly grateful to be settled in another city, with a job which allows me to keep learning, and friends who know, love and challenge me.

As ever, life takes funny turns. I couldn’t have predicted the journey of the climate movement from the infancy of XR as I knew it a year ago, to the notoriety it achieved in the April and October weeks of disruption. I couldn’t have predicted the move to Sheffield and the friendships I now have there. As with so many things in life, I simply couldn’t have known.

I am now three end-of-year reflections deep, and the themes of those reflections continue to weave through my life –

(2016) Life’s indeterminacy is so evident as I consider the future. There’s an unusual sense of reluctance in me as we turn into 2020. Part of that is about consciously living through the year which, on a pathway of 1.5 degrees, should be the year of peak emissions. Part of that is entering into a decade which I have never given that much thought to, a decade which will see many of my friends settle into adult (and family!) life in very new ways. Part of that is wondering about the magnitude of the celebration and loss which is to come.

(2017) Life’s richness is ever present. Life’s abundance, joy, and depth continue to humble me. There are times when I cycle home and something about seeing my breath in the cold air, or glancing up at the stars as I lock my bike up, floods me with gratitude. Sometimes I walk part of a journey because taking things slowly allows wonder to keep pace with me.

(2018) Life’s significance is what roots me. Life does not offer us safety, but it does have worth.

(2019) Life’s mystery.

In my advent post, I wrote –

I am often asking myself how we are to straddle darkness and light, sorrow and joy, and how we are to believe that nothing is irredeemable when so many things feel irreparable.

There is an ever-increasing bundle of thoughts to sift through as I keep encountering things I do not understand. I often build little house of cards in my mind, careful thought constructions which balance complex ideas and ways of understanding the world. Inevitably, I return to find that what I’ve been thinking out has already collapsed.

A lot of life – so it seems – is holding mystery and living with it.

I am slowly learning how to lean into mystery, rather than resist it. I find it comforting that in this mystery, for this mystery, we have God’s presence. Not God’s wisdom, or insight, but God’s presence. God with us.

The way to life is death. In letting go, we receive. Nothing is irredeemable in a world which feels irreparable.

Life is full of mystery.


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