Becoming a Catcher

People are talking about their word for the year. Or, I should say people have been talking about it for a while, but I’m not the most proactive person I know. So I’m just getting to it. I’m trying to learn.

In 2020 I chose Listen. I had NO clue how much we would all need to be listening to one another that year. As a country, we’ve rather failed the listen test. I hope, however, that I learned that year and this how better to listen to those with whom I don’t agree. That’s going to be crucial in coming months and years. I prefer to plow ahead with the way I know is RIGHT. But listening—that’s been so profoundly helpful in understanding my siblings in Christ from all kinds of backgrounds. (See my book roundup post for some books that taught me how.)

In 2021 I chose Rest. The year was . . . not that. I’ve never been so exhausted. I’ve never felt so close to burnout. Many of you know this feeling. I didn’t learn rest as I would have liked. I did however, learn how much I need to learn about it. I know many of the rhythms I need to have in place. But as Princess Mia says—“The concept is grasped. It’s the execution that’s a little elusive.”

Speaking of elusive, I think 2022 is going to focus on Hope. I need it. So many others need it. It’s in the name of my church.

If we believers need to be anything right now, it’s embodied hope for our homes, churches, communities, and beyond. Incarnate hope for those who lost their last shred of it months ago. This might be the most valuable ministry any of us ever do in our lives.

I’d like to spend the year chasing down hope and wrestling with it until it blesses me. J D Salinger’s character Holden Caulfield (not at all one of my favorite books) has this dream where he talks about catching children playing in the rye fields before they tumble over a cliff. He muses:

“I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”

JD Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

That’s what I think I’d really like to be, too. A catcher. One who sees the hopeless or the ones barely hanging on and catches them, letting them feel a God who won’t let them fall over that cliff. A God from whose love they can never be separated by any force on, above, or below earth. So, hope.

Let’s walk, eyes wide and head high if we can, but crawling and weeping when we can’t, toward the horizon of hope. I pray hope blesses you in 2022.

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