I had planned to begin my first post of the New Year with this thought even before the event that I will mention later. I don’t find it useful to make New Year’s Resolutions – like most people I can’t keep them anyway. I could declare that I resolve to lose 40 pounds in 2014. That sounds like a great idea, what are the odds of it happening?
I have aspirations, things I would really like to do in the coming year. Eating less and exercising more would be part of that, not with a specific weight loss goal, but with a desire to be more active and healthy.
I would like to finish a couple of books over the coming twelve months. One will be fairly short – the history of a congregation that existed 100 years ago, and the disagreements that scattered the members. The other will be a compilation of some of the posts on this blog about my personal history of becoming a Christian and then becoming a member of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite.
I said a compilation, but it will be more of a complete rewrite, to make the story coherent and to make it readable. Those who read this blog will have noticed the typos and uneven quality that are due to posting before I take time to reflect on what I’ve written. What I’m doing is putting this stuff out on the public square to see if anyone notices and what they notice.
All my plans are subject to that little phrase “if the Lord will.” I really don’t know what kinds of surprises the coming year may bring. Experience tells me there will be both joy and sorrow, and that I need the grace of God to cope with both.
We had a forceful reminder of the reality of “if the Lord will” on New Years Eve. Our daughter cooked at Silverwood Villa that day and after supper she began making the traditional Mennonite New Year’s cookies. They are small deep fried fritters dusted with icing sugar. Perhaps they are called cookies because the original Ukrainian name is too hard to pronounce.
A dozen of us were sitting around visiting,, playing games and eating New Year’s cookies when the phone rang at 10 p.m. It was a message on our congregation’s automated calling service, informing us that brother Dave Fehr had died of a heart attack. Dave and his wife, both 77, returned home at 7 p.m. from visiting their children in Manitoba. Dave went back out to shovel the snow from in front of the garage door in order to park the van inside. When he didn’t come back in, his wife looked out to check and saw him lying on the doorstep. Life was already gone.
Dave lost two wives to cancer. His third wife was a widow when she married him. The extended family was huge and they loved nothing better than to travel to visit them all. Dave lived at peace with God and with his fellow men. He had a medical checkup a few weeks earlier and the doctor found no cause for concern. None of us have any guarantees. “Ye know not what shall be on the morrow” (James 4:14).