It took me a long time to fall asleep last night. I was exhausted, from Christmas, from traveling, from taking advantage of being on vacation to eat more and sleep less than I should. But despite my exhaustion, I didn't fall quickly into an easy sleep. I felt my mind moving and my heart beating, and recognized these feelings as a general sense of anxiety that sometimes moves over us, as is the human condition, I suppose.
By today, those feelings of anxiety - over what I might be working on, over what the new year will bring, over what I might have forgotten to do or say - have shifted into feelings of flat-out restlessness. Which is, perhaps, exactly what I should be feeling on New Year's Eve, if you think about it. The stroke of midnight is a pronounced metaphor for change, and carries with it both hope and fear as we anticipate the future, and the direction that our lives move.
On this New Year's Eve, I find myself quite ready to put 2011 to bed. There were more than my share of wonderful moments in 2011, don't get me wrong. Ten years of waiting finally gave way to my dream of traveling to Tanzania, and it was one of the best things I've done in my life, ever. I've spent lots of time with family and friends, survived the 30th birthday, witnessed plenty of miracles and blessings.
But 2011 has brought it's own set of challenges as well. Most notably my emergency surgery in September for an ectopic pregnancy, and the implications of that surgery for us going forward as we try to start a family. And plenty of challenges for friends and church members and colleagues.
And so I find myself feeling restless tonight.
I am deeply desiring something new. Matt is shopping for a new cell phone, and I find myself oddly envious of the "newness" of that venture. But it's not that I want a new phone, per se. And I'm typing this on a new (to me) computer, so it's not that I want new things. But I am craving the feeling that comes with newness. The rush that comes with new things, or new ideas, or new opportunities, or new discoveries about myself and others. I think this means that I am the sort of person that finds change rather invigorating, even though I am also the sort of person that relishes routine and tradition and being comfortable with the way things are.
And, perhaps, I have high hopes that 2012 could be a year of big changes. An IVF journey toward starting a family is first on the list, and so 2012 could be the year of the baby. Buying a house is on the radar, and if finances work out well enough, 2012 could also be the year of the house. I am excited for a new year of ministry, and new projects in ministry, and new opportunities for learning and service and exploration. I am looking forward to the first real snowfall of winter, which hasn't happened yet, so 2012 will hopefully be the year of the February blizzard.
But whatever form "newness" takes in 2012, I am craving it. And my restless heart beats steadily on toward midnight, when I will count down the seconds like everyone else, giving undue power to that silly little clock as we cross from one year to the next in one tick. Here is to 2012, to blessings and joys and curiosities and the hope for all good things, for me, for you, and for our world.