For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like one who is in labor. – Isaiah 42:14 (NRSV, adapted)
There’s a sense of labor-weary impatience as the year nears its full term and a new one aches for birth. The approaching flip of the calendar compels us to tally the highs and lows, review our successes, leave behind our missteps and embarrassments, and resolve to do better and try it all again next year.
Why do we wait until the new year to do what we could do on any day?
Yes, some things must be allowed to gestate and fully form before they can be brought into being. And it’s good to set intentions and look to a future date for restart and renewal.
But when we hold our peace to keep the peace, not wanting to upset the status quo or make others (ourselves) uncomfortable, things grow and build until the inevitable crisis bursts forth. We restrain ourselves to tiny whimpers and whines until we let out a loud cry, alerting others to our distress, demanding to be heard, or lamenting our own brokenness.
We do not need to wait for a new year to turn our hearts, make ourselves heard, seek justice, birth something new, or cry out. It is one thing to await the right time. It is another to restrain ourselves to our own detriment—and often to the detriment of others.
Don’t wait for a crisis. Cry out now.
El Shaddai, we need you to be our midwife as we labor daily to birth something new. Hear our cries and attune our hearts to hear the cries of others. Amen.