New Years Eve I sat on the porch with my dog Arthur curled up beside me. As is my custom I meditated in the minutes leading up to the end of the year. At midnight a thunderstorm moved in and joined the sound of fireworks to usher out the old year and welcome in the new. Moments later it began to rain; a warm steady downpour that melted the snow and washed clean the streets. I began to pray, giving thanks for all the blessings of the past year. I then gave voice to those things for which I hoped in the year to come. What a privilege it is to be given another year in which to be of service to others, to experience fully the life I’d been given, and to have opportunities in which to feel the love and presence of God.
I wish every night were like New Year’s Eve. Maybe then I’d be more intentional about ending my day and reflecting upon what has gone well, what hasn’t gone so well, and how or if I could have been kinder or more compassionate. And to give God thanks. I need to do that every day so I remember I’m not the center of the universe, which then humbles me enough to acknowledge that God is my generous benefactor.
On New Year’s Eve many people resolve to improve themselves in the coming year by quitting this or starting that, all in the hopes of being better people. Perhaps it would be gentler and more productive if, instead of creating an ideal version of ourselves in our fantasies, we spent time just sitting with ourselves, with all our wonderfulness and all our awfulness, and then accepting ourselves as we are: the good, the bad, and the ugly. And then loving all of those things and giving thanks for what those things have taught us; the lessons we’ve learned by being the persons we have been—doing the things we’ve done. And maybe even forgiving ourselves for a few things, especially for being the flawed human beings that we all are!
Writers and actors are taught to always begin with themselves and where they’re at in that moment. We, with all of our good points, our flaws, and our idiosyncrasies—not our fantasy selves—are the starting point from which to begin to become the persons we were meant to be. We begin this journey by first accepting ourselves as we are and then by un-busying ourselves so we can sit quietly in order to get a sense of what it is we want and need. And finally, we ask God for guidance and assistance, remembering that help can come in unexpected ways!
Every night can be New Year’s Eve.
Categories: Theological Reflections