A Perfect Union

Check out the song above while reading. The song is “1B” by Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O’Connor from their album “Appalachian Journey”

Story and song are in love with each other. After all, they are a married couple. Look throughout history and you will scarce find a party or funeral that they haven’t been invited to. These two romantics will use any available vessel to tell their love story, from ancient cave paintings, to the bards of medieval lore, to all forms of contemporary yarn-spinners. You will often find them together; lyrics and lullabies wrap around each other in a beautiful embrace. Else, where it seems there is only one, the other is hidden close at-hand; an epic tale will beckon his wife near, emerging as a song on the lips or in the mind of the listener. A distant melody will sing fondly of her husband, illuminating long-forgotten memories and inspiring pens to fill their blank paper canvases.

I was reminded of this love narrative at a cousin’s wedding. Just outside of Philadelphia on an oasis of a beautiful day amid a soggy week, the bride and groom were married on the tracks of an old train station that had been transformed into a magnificent garden. With vows promised and rings mounted, the pair began their journey into married life, song leading them by the hand down the aisle in her dancing steps. The song she sang at this particular moment has no words. The melody lilts between a trio of string instruments and the vast soundscapes of their harmonies, as a kestrel dashing through valleys and mountains. The central theme, beginning with the rapid fire bowing of the fiddle, passes through several frames that speak of beauty, courage, humor, loss, and redemption. Give a listen to the song in the video above and you’ll see what I mean. Relying purely on instrumental content absent of any disclosing lyrics, this particular song invites the listener to seek her partner, to figure out the story he is telling. And the story he tells you may be uniquely yours, spun just for you. Here is mine:

Early American settlers of the Appalachian region, whose music and culture inspired this album, are often held up as iconic pioneers. They are remembered for venturing the seas to an uncharted land and braving the untamed wilderness of the western world to lay the foundation for a new nation. Life was no prairie dance for these families. The sweeping beauty of the mountains and valleys they settled were starkly contrasted with disease, poverty, and hunger. Although history often paints a glamorous view of settlement and westward expansion, we must remember that it yielded the genocide of the Native American people, a new market for the slave trade, and countless other sins that still haunt the nation to this day. Nonetheless, this era and these people are remembered for chasing an enigmatic entity known as “The American Dream.”

But what is it?

In writing, America is founded on noble principles. The Constitution outlines the lawful methods through which “We the people” would pursue a “more perfect union.” The Declaration of Independence lays the foundational presumption that God created all men equal and gave them the right to strive for “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Ask any American to explain that title and you will be given countless definitions. However, it is highly likely that the vast majority can be traced back to those three end-goals: Life, liberty, and happiness. It’s worth noting that these are not uniquely American ideas. You don’t have to be a citizen to identify with these things. Everyone from every nation wants them and, in some way, orients their lives to strive toward them. But for various reasons, America has identified these pursuits as its principle cause. When anyone refers to “The American Dream”, they are likely speaking of this trinity of timeless values.

Yet something is awry.

Life, liberty, and happiness seem beyond the grasp of so many. Death, captivity, and tragedy are still here. We still get caught in the ripples affects of our nation’s historical vices. The American Revolution, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement; these changed the methods of tyranny, segregation, and poverty but did not end them. Any liberty that  guarantees the life and happiness of the few while diminishing those of others is merely another form of oppression*.

I am not the greatest patriot so perhaps I am biased. Among the liberties that I receive with gratitude in this country, I find a measure of shame in the mix. Shame for our past crimes and the hesitant pace of our repentance. Though there is much to be thankful for in this country, we are still a far cry from the “more perfect union” that we strive to be.

But that’s the point, isn’t it?

A “more perfect union” is one that is not yet perfect but is trying to be. And though we are imperfect people, we the people (you and I) have a role to play in the outcome of this union. Moreover, this union has a role to play in the outcome of this world. And if we want our world to improve, then our own nation is the best place to start.

If want our three-fold dream for a perfect union, we must chase it as a unified people.

To strive toward a higher standard. To reorient when we are drifting off-course. To seek the life, liberty, and happiness of others, not just our own. And to invite the perfect God who created us all equally, in all races, all languages, all nations, to show us how to become more perfect.


* I believe I am paraphrasing Martin Luther King here but am unsure. If you are aware of the source, please let me know!

Tree rings

IMG_20170409_083328_911I held the bowl in my hands, feeling its organic weight as I turned it over. The glossy surface was a marbled array of amber and blonde ribbons swirling about each other. Occasionally, the warm-toned hues wrapped around a dark streak or mark that interrupted their flow; stubborn rocks in the midst of a tranquil stream.

This is where the tree was tapped for syrup,” said the craftsman, pointing to a conspicuous, cone-shaped scar.

He was a wood turner, specializing in bowls made from various hardwoods. The particular specimen in question was a large maple vessel whose masterfully stained surface glowed like a campfire in my hands.

I ran my fingers over the rings of grain and the anomalies hidden within them; years of life, from sapling to felled lumber, wrapped around each other. Successive stories echoing outward from a singular core of origin, shaped by those that came before it.

Time and memory. Life and legacy.


We like to think that life behaves linearly: you wake up, go about your day, then go to sleep – you’re born young, live life, then you grow old. The thought is that we go from point A to B to C in a straight line, each stage having little to do with those of the past.

Not so.

Our existence is a concentric one, like the maple tree. Whether from intrinsic growth or external influence, each of our layers have specific contours and marks. People, places, and events are continually shaping us and consciously or not, we all circle back to them. Memories drift to the surface or we reenact old behaviors and choices when something from our present reminds us of something from our past. For better or worse, with each successive pass over those old layers, we either preserve their shape and carry it forward or try to cover it up, smooth it out, and move on. Like the tree, our current layer reflects the shape of those under the surface and in the past. Life is not a straight line.

I was reminded of this principle recently when a friend from college, Albert Keever, released his debut album. Aside from his incredible songwriting, the album also features the production and instrumental contributions of several other friends, including my former roommate. These people all played significant roles in my life at one time or another. Reading their names on the album roster and hearing the expressive work they produced together awoke some tucked-away college memories. Thus, began another pass over one of the richest and significantly impactful layers of my life to date.

I began college a decade ago. A decade. Whether or not that time-frame seems significant to you, the existential shivers it drizzles down my spine sure are to me.

I went to school in Boston where I now live and work. From my freshman to senior year at Berklee, the setting of my story encompassed the Back Bay neighborhood. At the time, the primary building on campus was 150 Massachusetts Avenue whose developers endeavored to convert the city block’s former hotel and bank buildings into a unified dormitory/classroom/cafeteria/library/storage/studio/performance space for students while preserving the original floor plans. The resulting compound is an MC Escher-inspired maze of whimsy, mystery, and music. Outside of summer breaks and an out-of-state internship, such settings were my home during those years.

The people I met there were just as unique as the architecture. Everyone from teachers to classmates and strangers to roommates bore wildly diverse talents and personalities. It was here where I would meet many long-term friends and share life. These are the friends with whom I would make music, eat cafeteria food, watch The Lord of the Rings into the morning hours, wrestle physically and spiritually, pray countless prayers with each other and with people on the streets through both jubilee and agony, and see God do mighty things we once thought were impossible. Bright as these moments are, these years are also marked by some of my darkest nights. In these buildings, rooms, and streets, I would face the coldest loneliness I have ever known, be haunted by an invasive compulsive disorder, and attempt to navigate a fear-based spiritual insecurity rooted in certain false teachings and my own misinterpretations.

This is an incredibly dense layer of my life and it was created almost exclusively within a small radius of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. It is truly amazing how one can climb the highest heights and plunge the lowest depths in such a small span of space and time. But it happened.

And after graduation, another confounding thing happened: I could never go back. In some undefinable yet indelible way, those same places where I learned and laughed and wept and strove seemed suddenly off limits. I pass near those same places during my daily commute. I can see the familiar buildings in the distance. I could bike to campus and revisit those same rooms if I wanted to. But I know there would be nothing there and I don’t know why.

My life is different now; marked with a little more routine and stability. Cafeteria food has been replaced by home-cooked meals, my wife and I spend the occasional all-nighter helping our beautiful daughter fall asleep, and frantic spiritual wrestling is tempered with wise counsel and the faith that God is indeed a good God. At times, I can’t quite reconcile how life then and life now fit together. The contrast between the two is so sharp that it can seem as though my memories of the past belong to someone else.

Maybe it’s because the people with whom those places resembled a shared significance have moved away. Maybe it’s because that’s just what happens as you grow older. And its not just true for college. Think of a house you used to live in, a significant period of your history, or a person you used to know but have fallen out of touch with. Whatever the objects are, they represent different layers of your life. Perhaps those layers are smooth and beautiful. Or they could be riddled with scars that persist to this day. In either case, there’s a reason you find yourself face-to-face with them from time to time. Maybe there are unanswered questions or simply memories that are worth savoring again and again. 

We can never live in the past, nor should we try. When God puts our lives into motion, they orbit upward and outward, like the concentric veins of the maple wood bowl. Each layer is built on the foundation of those beneath, but is a different one altogether. It need not bear the same old contours and scars. We are shaped by the past but don’t need to be defined by it. There are many things in my past that I don’t understand yet. They still cross my mind now and then and I wonder what brought them into view. Maybe someday it will all come full-circle.

**Please visit the following page to sample and purchase (please!) Albert’s album: https://albertkeever.bandcamp.com/

Here’s your part – “American Hearts” by Piebald

Check out the song above while reading below. Thanks!

Punk rock. Or “punk rawk” as I used to spell it during the time when the genre frequented my ears. In those days of anger and questing betwixt 12-13 years of age, I had spiked hair, a skateboard, a thick chain necklace, and would have rallied around a ‘fight the system’ mentality without even being able to tell you what that meant or which system it was that I wanted to fight. At this stage, my developing sense of music appreciation resonated almost exclusively with the immediate sound of a song. My rave musical reviews probably consisted of statements like, “That drummer is awesome” or “When the guitars do that middly-middly thing at the end…it’s really good”. Nothing unusual there. There are many songs to this day that I appreciate for similar reasons. Essentially, if it gave me goosebumps, I was hooked.

It was only until later that I started noticing and weighing a song’s value based on its meaning. Although there are fabulous composers out there who can convey volumes of meaning through sound alone, lyrics are often a direct revelation of the songwriter’s intent.

Piebald’s “American Hearts” is one of those songs that I had heard a few times back in those early teen years. When I stumbled across this song via a Spotify rabbit-trail last week, listening to it was akin to plugging a pair of headphones into my 15-years-younger subconscious. I heard the anthemic voclas and the aggressive wall of guitars and drums. I saw my over-gelled and spiked hair, heard the calamity of my high school hallways, and felt the mysterious, unwieldy angst of youth in my chest. But I heard something new this time around: a message. My history was lecturing to me. It was as though a “you’ll-understand-this-when-you’re-older” concept from some long-forgotten lesson that fell on my youthfully deaf ears had decided I was ready to catch its meaning:

“Hey! You’re part of it.
Who? Me?

“Yeah! You’re part of it.”
Part of what? I don’t understand.

“This country is unequal still”
Yes, I have heard that. It’s tragic. But why are you telling me?

“History continues itself…”
But surely our current problems are different than those of our ancestors? Haven’t we come such a long way as a society?

“History continues itself…”
OK maybe so. The human race continues to destroy itself while clambering for money, status, and power. Slavery is illegal but racism is still alive in midst. We remember the genocides of history but the hatred that fueled them still lingers in the shadows of our society. Someone should really do something about that and fix our community.

“Hey! You’re part of it.”

And here’s the rub: You’re part of it. I’m part of it. All of us are parts of a community, a country, and a global human race. There are problems and graces to be found at each level and to greater or lesser degrees, we’re part of those as well by our awareness and advocacy or lack thereof. The state of the whole is determined by the state of its component parts.

And so at this present age, when I have much to say about the conditions of my community, this relic from my youth returns to shake me by the collar to remind me that there is no convenient middle ground of detached neutrality. With its refraining question, I am called to account for how I have utilized my sphere of influence and whether I am satisfied with how my decisions, compounded with similar ones made by billions of others, have impacted society. 

Be encouraged. You have far more influence than you think you do. Use it effectively and others will be notice. Eventually, you may be emulated and that influence will spread. May we never fail to include ourselves on the grand list of items that, if changed even just a little, could make the world a better place. After all, you’re part of it.

If a big change in the world is due,
The world needs a little change in you

What are we?

“It is…the task of Christian preaching to say: here is the church, where Jew and German stand together under the Word of God; here is the proof whether a church is still the church or not.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

These words were penned by Dietrich in the middle of the 20th century, when the social tides in Germany were swelling with a tragic hatred stemmed from a manipulative sect that targeted the Jewish people and attempted to cast them as objects of national fear and spite. Bonhoeffer saw the crucial need for the church to remain undefined by such pressures which had begun to invade the nation’s congregations and distort their teachings. Far from being a dusty chapter in church history, this need is one that we are faced with today. Allow me to borrow and modify his phrase to reflect the present scenario:

It is…the task of Christian preaching to say: here is the church, where native and foreigner stand together under the Word of God; here is the proof whether a church is still the church or not.

What do you think? Christians, what do you believe? Are we the church or are we not? Is the church the hands and feet of Jesus Christ who gave his life for all and spent it with not only the immigrant and the foreigner, but also the poor, the criminal, the prostitute, the unchurched, the politically-opposite? Or is it not? Are we a part of the church Jesus founded and is continuing to build or are we not?

Today is the day we must face the fact that “faith without works is dead.” These are not the cold words of some ancient proverb. Read the fuller context and see how inescapably relevant these words are to us today: “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead”
– James 2:15-17

This is the day when we come face to face with the refugee and the immigrant. We gaze over their bent shoulders to a tattered past and the war-ravaged lands from which they seek asylum for their children. We behold the dreams that they, just like you, are trying to achieve and the crippling memory of a home and a history that was stolen from them. These precious people are before us today and we must make a decision.

Now is when we find ourselves echoing the question that Jesus told us we would all ask of him at the end of all things: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” And it is now, right now on our very doorsteps, when his response to that very question takes on present-tense bodily form and refuses to be just some faraway prophecy for a faraway time in the faraway reaches of our theology: “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”
– Matthew 25:31-46

With the recollection that we too have personal or family histories of crossed borders and foreign roots, we must endeavor to give substance to the words engraved on the doormat of our nation: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the door”
Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

What do we preach? Forget words for a moment. What do we preach with our actions? Much of the world already knows our Sunday school lessons and can recite them just as well. There are too many empty words out there; society is glutted with phrases and proverbs but starved of the actions to back them up.

The words of Jesus matched the doings of Jesus. Do ours?

There are far too many opportunities to engage, love, and serve out there for us to keep making excuses. Give food, time, money, shelter. Buy someone a meal, donate to a relevant cause, join hands with people that are ethically and righteously standing against injustice. No act is too small. Break chains with every word you write, shatter darkness with your art, lead the way with your voice. Do something lovely because you can and because this is what you were made for. Open your home, your hands, your heart. Do not let silence close your lips when the oppressed are bullied or mocked in your presence. Do not let fear filter your eyes such that the dark crimes of a select few stain the innocence of the masses. Do not let your mind become a warehouse of false propaganda. Your whole body is an extension of God’s home, refuse to let anyone else live in it: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own”
– 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Jesus calls us into the messiness of the world to bring something into it that wasn’t there before. Lights in the darkness, water in a dry land. With our words, we boast of a faith in God and his love, forgiveness, protection, and trust. Do we attempt the impossible task of reconciling this with our lives of silent distance and neglect? Or do we join him in this work for which we were made? Are we not his church?

“…Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
– 
Isaiah 58:6-7

Wonder

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I wonder sometimes, if there’s a thing I can do
To best hold on to my memory of you
For the lives we live seem to differ in pace
You are growing so fast while I’m frozen in place
Was it a month, a week, or an hour ago
That your very first tooth had begun to show?
Now with three others where I thought there were none,
You’ve already arrived when I’ve only begun

I wonder sometimes, what it must be like
To see as brand new what I thought was common in life
All things are miraculous and more mysterious than not
Such things are the things that, somehow, I forgot
You are a master, by nature, of a most precious art
To love like a child and to be childlike at heart
May you never lose one single grain of this craft
It will lead you to truth when simple days have gone past

I wonder sometimes, what great changes you’ll make
In this mad, spinning world that seems to orbit ’round hate
Children, they say, are a God-send indeed
And God sends what can mend this shattered world’s need
In your short time you’ve made quite the start
For you’ve melted the ice of this calloused heart
May it never be said that you have nothing to share
You have strengths that will come when their time is prepared

I wonder sometimes, if God gave me you
To teach me the miracles that he can do
To make known the manner of love he conveys
Through the lamb and the lion in which he’s portrayed
For a lamb I will be, by your side as you grow
A friend and a guide, the most gentle you’ll know
But should any fool dare to wish you harm or disgrace
’till death or Time’s end, I’ll be the lion they face

I wonder sometimes, if I’m doing things right
To figure by day and to ponder by night
What can be done to preserve what has past?
How best can I make this memory last?
Can I save you from worry by keeping you small?
If I could, would I notice you growing at all?
Can this be the reason that it seems to be
You’ve acquired your age so suddenly?

I wonder sometimes, how the sum of times wondered
Renders the remainder of days that are numbered?
Alas, it is true that no effort can add
One single minute or second of life to be had
So teach me once more, my child my dear
To be unprepared for right now and right here
To give each day the patience and marvel it’s due
That I may cherish each moment with the wonder of you

The colors of integrity

Forgive me for stating the obvious when I say that Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of integrity. As a man of moral steadfastness whose riveting words were supported by bold action, the word seems fitting.

But, to draw out the point, what I mean is that he is man whose many parts were integrated*. Until recently, I had only a public school knowledge of his life. I never actually knew what it was that he did for a living. Was he a politician? A preacher? An activist? Yes…but no.

Occupationally-speaking, he was a preacher at a church in Atlanta. But while he was at it, he travelled the country to pioneer the civil rights movement. He rubbed elbows with dignitaries and pop stars. He was invited (several times) to appear at the White House. He ran fundraising campaigns. He led protest marches. His thunderous voice rang from countless stages to address the issues of the times: poverty, rights for the black community, the war in Vietnam.

Why such cross-platform involvement? Isn’t it dangerous to mix faith and politics? Yes, it most certainly is. But as we’ll soon see, there was no “mixing” in the life of Dr. King.

So why did he do it? He had to. He knew that to be a follower of the person of Jesus would cause him to be a doer of the things of Jesus. In other words, there was no distinction between the faith and the politics of Dr. King. His political actions were the outward expression of his faith.

Take a listen to the video at the top of this post. Here we have Dr. King preaching at his church, where many people would have liked to have kept him. But the subject of the sermon is Shadrach, Meeshach, and Abednego; three figures who resolved to trust and act on their faith in God, even when doing so yielded death threats and attempts from the ruling authorities. As the sermon progresses, one cannot help but see the common threads between biblical account and that of Dr. King:

These men were saying that ‘Our faith is so deep. We found something so dear and so precious that nothing can turn us away from it’…

[18:41] You may be 38 years old as I happen to be…and one day some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand upon some great principle…You refuse to do it because you are afraid…because you want to live longer…you’re afraid that you would lose your job…be criticized…lose your popularity…that someone would stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand. Well you may go on and live until you are 90 but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90…You died when you refused to stand up for right…when you refused to stand up for truth…

In this is revealed the heart of Dr. King’s mission. Just as Shadrach, Meeshach, and Abednego knew that their lives were found in standing literally and figuratively for God, so Martin Luther King knew he would only live when his life was laid down for the oppressed. Tyranny’s greatest weakness is the life of even one spent in servitude to its victims.

Too often, we attempt to dis-integrate ourselves. We would like to think that our lives are a series of boxes where each item is granted its own, unique space that is entirely separate and disconnected from the others. Our work life stays in the “work” box, our home life stays in the “home” box and so on. This is merely the recipe for living two or more separate lives. We are meant to be whole people, integrated people. To me, Dr. King is someone who allowed the contents of the boxes to be compiled into a cohesive whole. And this is exactly why we are still feeling the affects of his life so many decades after his death.

Our words and our actions will outlive us. Future generations will ride the crests of the ripples we now cast throughout the ocean of life. So it was with Martin Luther King, so it is with us, so it shall be for our children.

* I am grateful to Sarah Arthur from whom I first gained this insightful description of integrity as a character quality from her book Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey Through Lord of the Rings.

Forward and onward: 2016-2017

Quick preface: Every now and then you may discover a song, poem, image, movie, quote, or some form of media that speaks a message to you. The Meaningful Media” section of the blog is where I share such discoveries. I encourage you to listen to the song linked above while reading this post. This particular post is written in response to a weekly theme challenge (this week’s theme is “Retrospective“). Also, you may be interested in the background of the composer and his monthly film-score album release project and more on The Endurance expedition.  

“She’s going, boys” is the alarm call that was proclaimed among Ernest Shackleton’s crew as their ship, The Endurance, began to submerge into the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica after being crushed and splintered by pack ice. Can you imagine? You, as a crew member, are stranded on an ice floe in sub-zero temperatures, miles away from civilization, and the only thing visible through your cloud of frozen breath is your home, slipping away beneath the surface. And there isn’t a thing you can do about it. What do you do now? This is the moment that inspired this song.

And what a song it is. How does it manage to convey such a tragedy so beautifully? And why does it seem so oddly relatable? Thankfully, I have never been involved in a shipwreck or been stranded anywhere where help wasn’t readily available. So why have I mentally latched onto this song saying, “I know what you mean”? Here’s my theory:

I feel that the chief purpose of a song is to tell a story. How this is done is a great mystery. Think about it: The right combination of sounds (they need not be lyrical) produced by wooden, metallic, nylon, and wind-based instruments will cause your mind to create images and emotions that perhaps you’ve never seen or felt before. The right song will even dust-off ancient memories of yours that have been tucked away for ages or elicit an emotion that you have felt come alive in a variety of other contexts. That is exactly what Adam Young has accomplished through this song. This is why we can relate to a story about a shipwreck.

None of us were there when the crew initially abandoned The Endurance when it became trapped in the ice and, later, when those jagged walls relented and she faded away into the sea. We don’t know the extent of that story. But we have all experienced loss in some form; the drifting apart of friends, the death of a loved one, moving away from home. The loss of anything that represented security and familiarity. We do know that story quite well.

It is notable that The Endurance was held afloat by the pack ice for nearly a month after it was crushed and swamped. During that time, the crew camped and drifted on the ice floes,  frequently returning to the site of the wreckage until she finally sank. How often have we camped and lingered near the shadows of things that are no longer there? Do we try so fervently to  resurrect things from our past that we blind ourselves to the present and the future ahead?

But here is the beauty: Only after The Endurance sank did the crew truly abandon ship, forsake their navigation by incidental ice drifting, and begin their long and intentional journey home. Likewise for us, we must learn how to part well with the wreckage. Loss is a vast sea and the grief that comes with it is a ship that can carry us only so far until we are ready to set out on foot again. There are things in our past that we must make peace with so they can finally sink out of our waking lives without us onboard.

In a few days, 2017 will be here and we will embark on the journey of a brand new year. 2016 may have been a rough year for you. There was a lot of good to be found in the year but there was also some tragedy. My family and I welcomed a beautiful child into a conflicted and violent world. This past year found us celebrating at times and lamenting at others. I don’t know what next year will hold for us. But I do know that remaining adrift on the ice floes of 2016 is not going to help us get our bearings for 2017.

As the song fades out to the hauntingly beautiful sounds of The Endurance descending to rest beneath the sea, may the debris of our past do the same. After all, we have a long journey ahead of us. It’s a brand new year out there.

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
– Phillippians 3:13-14 (NIV)