As I thought about my 2015 I discovered that “shalom” was in fact the perfect word. I was hoping for a lot of peace for myself, but the truth is the word is a greeting and a salutation in Hebrew. And this year there have been a lot of hellos and goodbyes, not all of them were wanted or asked for but ultimately the decisions to have people enter my life or exit my life lead to a more balanced me.
As I meditated on a word for this year “Promise” kept sneaking up on me. One of the first rules of parenting is never make a promise you can’t keep. This is tough, though not impossible. Don’t promise to go to the park, or make cookies, or play a game if you’re not prepared to follow through. In fact, follow through is the key to a promise.
And so I asked, what does this mean for my life this year?
First, follow through. If I say I’m going to do something, especially those things that are good for me, I should do it. If I say I’m going to stay away from bad things, I should follow through on that. Making promises to myself are always scary, I mean, you think I have expectations that other people will disappoint me? It’s nothing compared to the disappointment I feel in letting myself down. This is, the easiest (and hardest) part of any promise.
But more than the giving and receiving (I promise to do this, or promise to stay away from that) there is another element to “promise”, a more, hopeful definition. I am full of promise, this year is full of promise, life is full of the promise of joy, mercy, humility, compassion, the promises of God.
Promise is a hopeful expectation of the future. Biblically the people are promised a savior. It does not come how the expect. Israel is promised a king, who is not perfect, Abraham is promised to father all nations, Hannah is promised a son. The disciples are promised the Holy Spirit, and Paul promises a community of faith.
Hopeful anticipation of the future: Promise. Welcome 2016, I look forward to what you have in store.