I am one of the fortunate who gets two New Years every year. You may be one too. I am referring to the New Year that takes over Times Square as one of course. Everyone gets that one. The day when the calendar tells you that you get to start again. Make new goals. Wipe the slate clean and forgive and forget. Organize your life. Drop the worthless “stuff” of life and create a fresh start for yourself. Leave all of last year’s pain and hurt and disappointments behind and head into a new year that is good and clean and pure. And then there are fireworks and kisses and everyone sings.
And then February hits (if you even make it that long) and life starts to slide back into some of the same stuff as the year before or diets fall apart or relationships develop their hiccups again. Sometimes it’s not the same as last year. Many times a new year holds all new nonsense all of its own.
We muddle through and occasionally spring cleaning gives us a little boost – at least on the organizing thing. Or the pool opens and we have the happy-go-lucky weeks of summer break to just walk away from it all and bury our toes in the sand, go on a cruise, climb a mountain, or boat on the lake. But we know that life is waiting for us on the other side.
That’s when I get my second New Year. The beginning of a new school year. My Bigs have gone back to school this week and there is a feeling of brand new starts. New clothes, new supplies, new teachers, new routines and activities. A fresh start for everyone. The new teachers don’t know me yet and I don’t know them. We have the best possible opinion of one another. Bottom Middle has the same teacher that the Tops had so it’s a renewal of a beloved old partnership.
In years past I have done a swan dive into the second new year and packed my schedule and started all the routines and discipline for the whole family right from the very first day. This year, I took a different route. I decided that I would cherish this week. Let it unfold on its own and just enjoy the newness of the moment. Perhaps it’s because we put vacation right up against the new year – literally getting back 42 hours before the big yellow bus showed up! Maybe I’m just still tired from the challenging summer we had. Maybe I just decided I didn’t feel like engaging my brain yet. It may have a lot to do with the fact that homework hasn’t started yet.
Oh, I’ve given it a half-hearted attempt. The alarm goes off at 4:45 every morning to tell me it’s time for the gym but my heart just isn’t there yet. I went for a little run outdoors earlier this week to try to jump-start that urge but the funny thing is I haven’t felt the first shred of guilt about hitting the snooze and passing on a good workout. I am resting in the moment. And I like this. I believe this might be the new mindset I attempt to adopt for the new year. A quiet restfulness in the middle of scurry and chaos (because this is MY house after all…).
A Psalm 23 state of mind.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house fo the LORD forever.
Last week I made it a point to go out on the deck of our hideaway cabin on the mountain and have a cup of coffee with no book, no music, no children and no distraction. As I sat in the rocking chair, I let my mind drift down over the hill to the creek that ran behind the cabin, and I listened to the earth wake up to the music of the water rushing over the rocks. First the water. Then the birds started to chime in. Dogs at neighboring cabins would send good mornings across the street to one another as they went for their morning constitutionals. But even with all the sounds there was no noise. There was a quiet peace.
I pray that all of you can find that same peace as you enter your second chance at a new year. If you don’t already have a place like that in your mind, I urge you to find it. A place where you can put away the day and the demands; the goals and the failures; the pain and the weariness and just be at peace. Allow your Shepherd to lead you to that time and place of peace and allow yourself to hit the snooze button on life for a moment and just be at peace.
Allow Him to restore your soul. May you have a peace filled New Year.