Many mornings as I drove into school, I remember thinking….”I wonder what will happen today?” Teaching and working with students is unpredictable, messy and surprising. If you were like me, I’d have a plan for the day: what I was going to teach, what I would get done, how to complete my to-do list, who I’d talk with, which reports I’d write. But the beautiful thing was that I may or may not get to all those things that I had planned AND that would be OK……because in the end….our work is about people, young and old. People do not fit into nice neat little plan books or packages, they don’t follow our schedules nor do they wait for us to be ready. Now…don’t get me wrong. Having lesson plans, writing them down, organizing a to-do list, preparing for each day is crucially important. (I have met some who wonder why bother?) I would just suggest that all our plans cannot outweigh the needs of the people around us.
New Year’s resolutions are just that sort of thing that help us reflect on our lives, our work, our relationships and our plans. It is exciting to wonder about the possibilities of a new year. Is this the year for a birthday milestone? Will this year bring about a new friendship or relationship? Perhaps your plan is to marry, to have a baby, to finish a degree or take a new course or to take a major trip. Whatever the plan, being open to change, wonder, and unexpected twists and turns will make the journey adventuresome. Just as planning each day of teaching is important to provide structure and a map, so writing down goals and aspirations for a new year is an act of believing into new possibilities. However don’t forget that our goals or ideas may be sidelined due to unforeseen situations, both positive and negative, and that our focus may need adjustment due to those around us. Being prepared is one thing, being open quite another.
Life can be unexpected, it can be both joyous and difficult and it can be both at the same time.
Our trust in the future for this year and the next is well summarized by God’s words to Jeremiah….”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
May you carry that blessing with you throughout 2016!