Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring out 2009

As 2009 comes to a close, I pause and write here realizing this marks exactly one year of weekly posting. I am a bit sad that my last post has ended up being so tardy (I was away for Christmas), but perhaps it is most fitting that I write today.

As I write I feel inadequate to the task of writing something on this day which is given significance only by a small change in the numbers by which we mark our days. I look over the posts and back over the year that has passed. In some ways these posts seem distant from the 'facts' of my life - a year full of change and uncertainty, of trials and joys. The interludes of rest seemed nearly as intense as the times of business. Yet I like to think that there is not so great a disparity between my life and my musings here as first might appear. For my thoughts cannot be separated from the life I am living. I note also that except when shear exhaustion prevented me from thinking clearly, the times of greatest stress often force the deepest or most relevant thoughts.

I have learned much, but I have also forgotten much, and am glad for the record of thought that this blog leaves. I hope you have found some encouragement or food for thought here.

I will close with a poem by Tennyson which is probably familiar to you, but which I only discovered relatively recently. I am struck today as I read it how futile, now naive even, the hopeful tone of the poem seems - until the last line. I give thanks for this year. I give thanks for our hope.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife,
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweet manners, purer laws.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

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