Brief Reflections on First Year

“Wow I can’t believe our first year of university is over already!”

What do you mean? Of course, you can. Time passes. Is that anything new?

“It’s just surprising, don’t you think?”

Yes, I do think so. It’s been a tremendous year. I’ve learnt a lot, and have grown a lot, and I probably have a lot of things I’d like to say and reflect upon. But since it’s all a big, grey mess in my head, and also because I’m quite tired and just want to get on with the holidays already, it almost amounts to having nothing to say and reflect upon at all… haha. Though, it wouldn’t do justice to not say anything at all, right?

The mind is a stage, and performances come and go. Thoughts and feelings change. The spotlight never stays in any one spot for too long. I have found this particularly so this year. I spend one moment thinking about one thing, and the next contemplating something completely different. I feel passion and zeal and uncontainable jubilation one moment, and dull, lifeless, existential despair the next. The mind is a stage, and performances come and go. Now, in reflecting, I could zone into any one of these momentary performances – I could talk about university life, academia, or friends and relationships, or ministry, or how my view of the world has changed over the course of the year. But since my thoughts and feelings about these things are constantly changing, I’m finding it difficult to find something concrete to write about. It’s all mist. And sure, I could comb through the annals of my mind and slowly squeeze it into words – but, do I really have the energy for that? Too much effort required. So, why don’t I just pick out some things that I want to remember, write those down, and just get on with my life?

“Yeah that sounds like a pretty good idea.”

Thanks, I think so too. Sorry for reflecting about reflecting before actually reflecting about the year. Anyway, so moving on. Here are two things that, at this point in time, I want to say to myself.

Firstly, I am supremely grateful for the people that have been placed in my life. I cherish the very small, brief moments – the conversations on the trains in the mornings and afternoons (especially when we cross the bridge over the Parramatta river and admire the dulcet tones of the sunset rays on the clouds), the smiles and greetings and silly things that have been said in passing one another. I cherish the intentional time spent with others, wrestling with truth from God’s word, thinking about how to spread good news. I cherish the friends that I’ve made this year, the relationships that have slowly grown – all interweaved through the daily hustle bustle, the daily laugh, the daily tiredness. The encouragement, the rebuke, the jokes. The way people lived, and the words they spoke. All these have shaped me and transformed me and grown me over the year, most likely in ways that I don’t even notice. And I’ve come to see that these relationships manifest themselves in the most ordinary things that we do, and I’ve come to realise just how important these relationships are. This year – my first year at university – was tough, but it was filled with growth. And this growth didn’t come from myself, or from studying, or from the new lifestyle. It came from the people around me. I am so grateful for this, and it is my hope that I will continue to invest my life in the lives of those around me.

Secondly, I realise that… time flies. Not that the passage of time is a bad thing. However, I don’t think it’s time passing quicker. I think it’s the fact that so much happens in the time we have. We can look back and think ‘wow – we’ve done so much and seen so much and have come a long way since’. And it’s true – so much has happened this year, and that is something that is really, really awesome. But there’s another reality lurking in the shadows. It’s that this blissful, carefree, exciting time of university won’t last forever. First year is already over. Only two more years until undergrad is over. Time keeps moving, and that’s not something we should ignore or become complacent about. Right now, it is a season where we can be so free with our time and our thoughts and the way we live our lives. And that’s an absolute blessing. However, it won’t go on indefinitely. Soon, life will change, and we will have to readjust – and that will be a new season for new things. I feel strongly that we should make the most of our time, to enjoy it and to embrace this season of university life for what it is.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Our days are numbered, and we shouldn’t forget this. But if we recognise this, and know that there is a season for everything, and that seasons don’t extended forever, and that we only have so many days – we become wiser. We gain a heart of wisdom. This year, I’ve really learnt a lot about wisdom by spending time studying the book of Proverbs. And wisdom allows us to live better – to better make use of the time and energy and thoughts and blessings that have been given to us for this season. So, at the end of first year, which has passed by quickly, I say – let us number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

 

 

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