L’Shanah Tovah Pt. 2 (A Personal Reflection)

Yesterday I posted a reflection on Rosh Hashanah that was a general post concerning the reflective nature of the holiday, its emphasis on the frailty of humanity and the central importance of teshuvah (repentance).

After posting this blog I ran off to a huddle at Memorial Lutheran Church where my wife was recently installed as Director of Music Ministries and where I will be helping out as a quasi-vicar over the next few years.

We were discussing repentance and those moments in our lives when God interacts and transforms us by his in-dwelling in our lives.

My recent meditations on Rosh Hashanah brought me to the realization that it was exactly one year ago that Elizabeth and I were departing from South Africa on our way to our new apartment in Arizona where we had little clue of what we’d be doing and if we’d be there long at all. There was no way we could have known we would now be in Katy, Texas.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. Thus, as it is a time for reflection it is also a time for celebration to thank the LORD for what he has done, how he has indwelled in our lives this last year!

From 9/9/9 to 9/9/10 Elizabeth and I experienced life all over the place. We spent the majority of that epoch in Arizona enjoying the company of family and friends. I ran multiple marathons and raised over $1,500 for World Vision through my running. Elizabeth ran her first 5k. I continued work on the RE:creation project (http://recreative.wordpress.com). We spent a lot of time in California for family events, weddings and most recently, my master’s class work. We found our way down to Peru for a three week adventure and took a couple side trips here and there in Arizona.

Our pace of life was at first frenzied with multiple jobs and new experiences in AZ, until we somewhat evened everything out with a good balance between our many vocations. Elizabeth worked for Holy Cross Lutheran in Scottsdale, Christ’s Greenfield in Gilbert, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix and taught private piano lessons. I worked for Mountain View Lutheran in Apache Junction and International Friendship House in Tempe.

We reconnected with old friends and made some special new friends.

We enjoyed countless hours with our family so close by.

Then we said goodbye and travelled from Phoenix, AZ to our new home, Katy, TX where we begin a new chapter.

Looking over the last year, with all its transitions I can’t help but think how we are ready for some permanence in our lives. I can see how Christ brought us to this place at this time for his purposes.

The last year (really the last three years) really showed me how impermanent our lives can become, how in flux they can be. How many times we have to say goodbye and hello, pick up and move, change direction and learn new things.

It shows me how that can be a good thing that the LORD uses to mold and shape us.

However, it also showed me how good stability and permanence can be.

I, personally, am ready for some serious down time in one place. My wife agrees. We are both enjoying our new apartment and hope to stay here for at least the next two years IN ONE APARTMENT, IN ONE TOWN, IN ONE PLACE (shocking, I know)! And we only had to spend three years bouncing from place to place. I couldn’t imagine 40 years in the wilderness before getting to settle down!

Thus Rosh Hashanah seems a fitting time for the Chitwoods to celebrate a new year, a new period, a new epoch of growth, of change and for some new permanence.

I thank God for where he’s taken Elizabeth and I this last year (and indeed the last three years) and where he’s brought us to now. I hope, and trust, that these next few years in Texas will bring with them a necessary stability along with new and exciting transitions.

Today, September 9, 2010 is the first day of the year 5771 according to the Jewish lunisolar calendar. Apparently, these years mark the years since creation. Each Rosh Hashanah (literally, “the head of the year”) marks another period of Jehovah’s continual re-creation of all things.

Thus, I await just how he is going to re-create me, my family and the people around me this year.

L’shanah tovah! Happy new year!

-Ken

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