For a very long time, I’ve had a quote up on a letter board in my home: Keep leading us forward. It’s a verse from the book of Proverbs. I believe it’s God’s heart for us, for us to keep looking ahead, to keep being lead forward, not to dwell “on the former things”.
However, the other day I had a glance back. I’m an old fashioned, page-turning-ink-smudging diary kind of gal, and while Google calendars have definitely helped manage my all-over-the-place hours, and keep the family in the loop, I cannot shake the habit of a paper diary. As a young girl, one of my favourite things to do between Christmas and the New Year, was to prepare my diary (and probably only bookish, nerdy 90’s Australian girls would remember those fold out Dinky diaries with aaaaall of the stickers?!). I would add in all the addresses of my family members, and everyone’s birthdays, term dates, and then write lists: best friends, favourite pets, boys I hated.
Now, my favourite paper diary of the last four years is the Moleskine week to an opening, with one whole lined page for notes and lists and scribbles. My 2020 Alice In Wonderland has made me smile all year!
So, the other day in the city I bought my 2021 Moleskine. On the train on my way home I got busy transferring some information from the old to the new, when I began to flick through the pages of twenty twenty. It wasn’t just work shifts I found scrawled in there, but coffee dates with my husband, dinners with girlfriends, a girls weekend away (um, did that even happen this year?!), a once-in-a-lifetime contract opportunity with the State Library, the date Amie started learning ukulele, my gum graft surgery, the date Joel went for an interview and landed his first job, that month that I ran almost 40km because I’d lost a friend and running eased the hurt.
There were the private victories—high-fives in our marriage, in our parenting; a bonfire of paperwork signifying the end of hard times, birthday stargazing and a debt paid.
How could so much be squeezed into one year?! While it’s been so easy to focus on what’s missing in these last few months of 2020, having a glance back made me re-discover the highlights, the wins. And reminded me again the importance of writing it all down. Write it all down.
One of my favourite verses penned by the prophet Habakkuk tells us to, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
Sometimes I’m not aware of where I’ve run to, until I reflect on where I’ve been. And I can do that because I’ve written it, made it plain to myself, so I can remember the faithfulness of God in times my prayers don’t seem to be heard.
I listed out all of these wins, losses, victories, and hopes of 2020, and I smiled. It’s a visible reminder of all this year held—awe and loss, gratitude and surrender. I feel proud of the things I’ve carried this year, carried and carried on. I feel grateful for the community we’ve built, for new friends, and the loyal ones that are still here after all this time.
And I feel hopeful still, that the best is yet to come.
PS my friend Amanda Viviers is the queen of end of year reflections. In fact, she’s got a tool to help you do just that; a book with reflection questions and lots of space to process your year and your hopes for the one ahead. It’s an incredible tool to help you to move into new days. You can find it here.