I’ve started many a new year off with a long list – a hyper perspective of changing every single thing that hasn’t been 100% perfect in my life since the day I was born. With a semi-shocked and melancholic view of the world, after listening and watching all those depressing shows about the “Top 100 (People, Events, Deaths, Catastrophes, Songs, Movies, Actors Being Dump, Political Failures) of The Previous Year”. Waking up on New Year’s Day with my list stamped to the inside of my eyelids, and dropping the ball almost before I step out of bed.
But this year, I was feverish and coughing and sleeping, with my beloved pillow and NyQuil on New Years Eve and Day. So, I did NONE of that frantic stuff. And it was good.
Now, since I have no deadline (I already missed it – nothing like being the last person to the party!) I can take my time and really think about what I want to do this year. And I realize that I seem to echo the same aspirations each year.
Look people in the eye.
Read good books.
Help grow my family’s faith.
Yep, same thing everyone says. Every year.
But, is that so bad? Boring, maybe. But not bad, I don’t think.
Our world is cyclical for a reason, I’m sure. God could have created an infinite number of seasons if He’d wanted to. Who says we need a 365 day calendar, and patterned weather, and birthdays, and seasons and holy days of the Church. He could have made it one long running streaming world from beginning to end. A long, long line of days with no pattern or habit or cycle. But He didn’t. He gave us a world that turns and orbits around and around again. And in a short enough time for us to actually remember what happened the last time.
(We could be on Neptune, for Pete’s sake. One year there is the equivalent of 164.8 Earth years. What good is that? So glad He gave us Earth, instead.)
We have all these repeating things. The changing of the trees, the grass turning brown, my children’s birthdays, the first frost, the way every year my sycamore tree is the very first to turn its leaves, the feast days of the Church. A new year.
It’s almost like these repeating wonders are God’s way of saying, “it’s okay to just do the same thing again. Because, even if it’s the same thing, I’ll still make it new.” We never do get bored of Fall, or Christmas, or of singing happy birthday to a loved one.
As our pastor, Fr. David Konderla said in his homily after the readings during Advent, (I paraphrase here from memory, just so you know) “We hear these readings every year. I heard this same Scripture when I was 5. And when I was 20. And when I was 40. But it is not boring. Because today is the first time I have heard it as a 55 year old man. With the thoughts, experiences and events of a 55 year old man. I am not the same as I was last year. There is something new here for me today.”
Dude. I’ve thought of that statement many times since.
We can take the same wise words and apply them to this new year. Yes, here we go all over again. If you watch TV, read the internet, listen to the radio or follow social media too closely, it can see almost surreal. And weird. Like “what’s the point?”.
But NO!! The world may just be spinning again in the same old way, but WE are different. Changed. NEW! This is the first time I will walk out the door on January 4th as a 38 year old woman. This is the first time, as a 38 year old woman, that I will snuggle my child, hug my friend or write a blog post.
This is the first time, as a 38 year old woman, that I can commit to the exact same new years resolutions, and NOT have them be the exact same resolutions as last year. Because I am a different person than I was last year. Changed. NEW.
That is the mystery of the incarnation. That God enters time and breaks the dull pattern with his Love! We know it in our souls! That we are different that we were. That there is something else for us to know. Things that used to amaze us are common. But things that we never even fathomed as children now tickle our senses.
So grab up your repeating resolutions, whatever they may be, and do not be ashamed! Pledge one more time to keep your closet clean, pray the Rosary more often or be more patient with your family. Wave it like a banner. Because you are new this year. And God knows it better than we do. Let Him take charge, and see what will happen.