In a few hours it will be New Year's Eve ~ December 31, 2008. I plan to spend at least part of New Year's Eve in the balcony. British theologian Alister McGrath, in his book Suffering and God, shares an analogy of the balcony and the road, to illustrate one's perspective while on life's journey.
In this analogy, the balcony refers to a platform that protrudes from an upper window to allow one to see off into the distance, to see how far one has come, to see what lies ahead, or to simply gaze at the journey from a fresh vantage point.
The road is that place "where life is tensely lived . . . where choices are made and decisions are carried out." The road, where one may travel far with the wind at one's back, or grind to a halt from insurmountable pressures of stress, conflict and loss.
When I remain on the road, I see the projects I did not complete, those extra pounds I did not lose, the time I wasted on petty things. I see places where weeds grow up to block the way. On the road, I stand face-to-face with the struggles and obstacles which at times seem to overwhelm me.
I really am looking forward to climbing into the balcony on New Year's Eve. From that perspective, I see all the ground I did cover in 2008. I see the boulders that were in my path, and somehow I managed to navigate around them. I see where the road narrowed and was difficult, yet I kept on putting one foot in front of the other to travel on.
And in the balcony, I will turn to face the road ahead. I can see that I indeed am not alone as there are other travelers further along the same road I intend to travel. I get a clear picture of where it is I am going. I can see that even though the road may twist and turn, it takes me where I want to go if I just keep moving along. My perspective on life is transformed in the balcony!
Maybe your road in 2008 was straight and clear, and you are rejoicing in the successes you have experienced along the way! That is a wonderful way to celebrate on New Year's Eve.
Maybe your year has had times of disappointment or despair. Maybe you wish you could simply forget 2008 completely. I invite you to step off the road of life and climb into the balcony to gain a clearer perspective on the past twelve months, and to look ahead to the coming new year. It is quite a view from the balcony!
Happy New Year from Life's Balcony!