Remember when we were eight years old and could spend the whole day in the pool? The mom's would soak their feet at the edge and talk while we practiced jumping in or diving for those bright colored diving sticks. I learned to do handstands in between underwater tea parties and games of Marco Polo. Our mom's would have to threaten to get us out of the pool to eat lunch and then torture us by making us wait 30 minutes before getting back in, "or else you'll get a cramp and drown".
Remember that one boy? He'd taunt us with endless splashing, enjoying the squeals and screams as we covered our faces. Finally he'd get out of the pool and we'd go back to our giggling and games. Then you'd hear it. Running feet. Mom's calling out to "walk before you slip and fall!". And then the yell, "cannon baaaalll!", as he plunged into the pool, arms wrapped around his knees, bottom first. We'd gasp and quickly move away from the tsunami. The moms would scold as they scurried away from the edge, grabbing towels or hovering over food and babies. The splash disrupted the entire pool, reaching as far as the picnic table.
Have you ever seen the sunrise after a storm? After a night of howling wind, pounding thunder, and pulling covers over your head, the morning wakes to stillness. The earth is mushy; branches and washed up debris litter the ground. But look up. Always. Look. Up. The sky is beautifully painted a mixture of oranges and pinks, promising the arrival of the sun. Calm. The dark clouds are gone. You close your eyes. Birds are singing. A gentle breeze kisses your face. Inhale. The ground smells fresh, ready for new growth. It smells like hope. You smile because you are still standing. There is some rebuilding to do; things may never look the same - they are not supposed to. It's a new beginning.
We can't focus on the hurts and mistakes and failures that are behind us. We can only fall forward until suddenly we discover we are running again. I couldn't be happier to leave 2014 behind. The waters have washed away the old and the new is coming. And it is going to be good.
"...But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."