in pursuit of critical and compassionate living and thought. in surrender to courage & delight of Christ.
I read a lot of books. And this year I’ve read a lot of journal articles and theses and reports. Stacks on stacks of papers. Papers on papers on stacks of papers.
Now don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t just love chewing on these big ideas and problems (and all the words it takes to write about ’em) like a dog likes to chew through every slipper in the house at once.
But no matter how much I read, my favourite part never changes:
I love love love that little paragraph at the front or very end tucked in after meticulous shiny Tables of Contents and impressive Bibliographies.
It’s where the real story is at. It’s how everything you just read got there. It’s a short story of all the people who eagerly read it first. It’s about the people who believed in the person before the conclusion. They say a book takes several years to write and only one to write it down. It’s the people who were in it for the long-haul before they even knew a pen would go paper.
As I wrap up this season of my life, I’ve been simply overwhelmed by all the people who have been like gifts to me this year, on top of all the people who helped get me here in the first place. Some were old, some new, some close, some casual, sporadic or passing through. But they were all so wonderful in each their own way. I am very happy for things I have had the privilege of accomplishing, but the real gift to me is the permanent impact of gratitude for all these people’s graces, and their lasting impression of love.
And its incredible – the vast majority of what people do for us they will never know, and sometimes we won’t either. What a wonderful, wonderful secret gift our lives, ears, hearts, hands, and hugs are to each other!
We are all backed by an army, whether that includes a small front-line troop of devoted supporters, long-gone heroes we look up to, the strangers who tended to you when you were out, or the massive throng of everyday blokes picking up their boots along side you one step at a time, and every so often throwing a side-glancing smile your way. Its a testament to everyday lives lived with and for each other. Sometimes we see big things done and big battles won, but the really amazing thing is the role we play for each other each and every day. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone, is our life song.
So for every time someone says not to judge a book by it’s cover I want to add, Right! Judge it by it’s Acknowledgements! Good and celebratory things are very rarely accomplished alone. Nearly always someone was there to encourage, shape, guide, inspire, check, comfort, and challenge us whether intimately or from more afar. We can plow our way in full effort to grow, produce fruit, make those big and little milestones, but at the end of the day you have to look around and see who’s been around watering you, who’s been throwing you a little sunshine.
Writing papers on papers to graduating with a Master’s degree may have been the Title block of the year for myself, but it was wrapped in another story of many many hands around my hands on that pen. Surely, the gratitude I receive from these memories will fuel my next endeavors too. So, thank you.
Who’d be in the Acknowledgements section for this season of your life when you get through? Who will you be there for right now?