I opened Henri Nouwen’s “Bread for the Journey” daily devotional reading on New Year’s Day and here is what he said:
Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.
So, surprise me God! Your surprises are so much more rich and blessed than what I could think of! Of course I would never think of or hope for anything adverse or contrary to my goals would happen to me, but that doesn’t mean that these unbidden events are necessarily bad (although it certainly feels like it!). What I can know is that each event is not a surprise to God, and I pray for the grace to accept each one as an opportunity to grow.
This was a good word for me to start out the new year 2012. The year 2011 was full of surprises (I moved back to Thailand for one) and I have no doubt that 2012 will bring many new joys and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how it unfolds – there is a lot up in the air even now as I write. I hope you are full of anticipation as well!
I had intended to take a couple of rest days in the final week of 2011 to journal, read, reflect, and blog. What happened was that I just plain rested. It seems that 2011 and all that I did last year caught up with me and I found myself exhausted. It was all I could do to wind down so that by Friday I felt pretty good again. Although I had a few items of work to follow up, I did no heavy reading, made little use of my brain, and I certainly had no desire to sit at the computer for any length of time trying to make sense of the year through the fog of my fatigue. So, no big revelation that wraps up 2011 for me, and that’s OK. I did so much last year I don’t think that’s possible.
However, I did I manage to finish off a couple of novels I had going – Byzantium and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (great books, both); saw two movies in the theater; and let myself sleep as long as I wanted. Of course I still managed 74 miles of running!
Speaking of running, I completed the Chiang Mai Marathon in 3:45. I was just hanging out, chatting with a friend from Kunming (surprise!) and others and running pretty conservatively as I didn’t really know what I could do since I was training through this event and didn’t taper or anything. At the half, I was feeling really good and started to pick up the pace. The hilarious thing was that this time was good for second in my age group and 4th female overall and I even got 4000 Baht ($130) as prize money! The stink of it is that I lost first by less than a minute! I had no idea! Sorry, no pics – had I known that I was going to be able to park my moto within 100 meters of the start/finish I would have brought my camera – who knew!