It really is just a day on the calendar, so we made it up. It really would be more reasonable to mark (as many of my friends do) the dawn at the end of the longest night of the year. But instead, etched into my aging spirit, is the tendency to take some time between today and the first of January to reflect on where I have been and what changes I would like to see for the coming year.
I refuse to make resolutions. It is important to me, to my own sense of integrity, to be a person of my word. I do not make promises lightly, and that includes to myself. I think we are all somewhat diminished by the way the whole thing has become a big joke.
What I have sometimes done in past years has been to encounter a passage of scripture or a quote that somehow speaks to me for the year. I'm expecting something will jump out to me in the next week. I also usually encounter some thoughts or themes that feel like signposts pointing me along the next little stretch of personal roadway.
This last year I have been celebrating so much of my past as I reached a milestone age. This year has also brought much joy, with a new grandson and another on the way. But there is some bittersweetness in that. My baby having a baby feels like someone wrote "the end" on the story of my own motherhood. I know that isn't true, but I feel what I feel, and this feels like an end.
But in that end, I am looking for a new beginning this year. I thought part of this would be accepting the ending, but instead what is popping up to confront me is asking me what comes next? More than that, it is asking me what I want, not for my family, what do I want for me?
My heart is seeking simplicity. I am not certain, but I think from now until the weather turns hot, my focus is going to be on shedding excess belongings. I also want to declutter my schedule: especially ingesting media that is only meh just because it is there and effortless. I need to make room and time for the things and people who bring me joy.
What do I want more of in my life, just for me? Long, meaningful, one on one talks with certain, select people. More creativity; especially writing and music. And I want to give more, especially I want to make more to give to the people I care about so that they will know that I value them enough to spend time on them.
I also want to, finally, give myself forgiveness, offer myself the grace I extend to others. I know I will never be perfect, but my guess is that you aren't either. It is not arrogant for me to say that despite my flaws, I am not a bad person. I want to try being my own friend. I want to make sure I am on my own side, that I've got my own back. I want to stand up to the voices in the back of my head, and shout them down so that when someone says something to my face, I know how to respond, not just curl up and die inside.
But there is still another week on this old year. I haven't found my quote yet. I have put the period on this year. And now and always and always, mixed in with my thoughts, I am listening for God's thoughts. Always, the best place to be is right in the middle of the flow of being where he puts me. And the only thing I've been hearing pretty clearly is that I'm not done yet.