The new year is almost upon us. We hang a clean new calendar on the wall and it makes it almost believe that because we had a party at midnight things will be different. We will be different.
We start off the year with grand plans of how we can be better people. We will go to the gym more often. We will eat more vegetables. We will read more important books, we will stop playing so much Candy Crush. We will fix our lives.
2014 was a year of so much loss for me. I have spent the better part of this year grieving. Grieving the loss of my mother to ALS. Grieving the loss of my son. Grieving the loss of my first marriage. Grieving the loss of the church that I thought was going to be my last church. I have cried more tears this year than I can remember. When I think of 2014, I think it will simply be the year of loss.
So it’s easy for me to look at 2015 and say, this is the year that it will be different. This is the year that I will be different.
But so much of what happens is beyond our control. And so much of what is in our control doesn’t matter because we don’t control it well. We make our lists of resolutions, and we might even stick with them. But death will still find us. We will still make decisions that will hurt other people, and almost certainly those people will be the ones who are close to us. We will still be hurt ourselves and find ways, even if they are new to us, to numb the pain rather than experiencing it full force.
The date on the calendar won’t make any difference. The newness of the year won’t keep us safe.
But the truth is, we don’t have to wait for a new year, or even a new day for things to be different. The negative changes don’t wait, we don’t have to either. It was the middle of the year when I started seeing a therapist. It was the middle of the year when we started attending church again. It was a Tuesday when we started going to the gym. Today was the first day that my alarm went off extra early to write, not because it’s a banner day, but because it was the day that I decided that I wanted to do it.
In the midst of all of the losses of 2014, I have gained something – recognizing the power of now. The ability to experience moments of joy in the midst of sorrow. The ability to smile through tears. The ability to recognize an unhealthy pattern and stop it, even if just for a moment. The ability to let go of my mistakes, to forgive myself, to love me.
So let’s make our toasts at midnight and hang the new calendars. Let’s make our lists, choose our one word. Let’s resolve to be different.
And let’s be willing to resolve that every day after, no matter what that difference means.