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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What's in a New Year?

Happy New Year!  We hear this phrase repeatedly for the first several weeks of the month of January. But what does this really mean?  I've always been one who has balked at resolutions, been repeatedly disappointed by the hoopla and high expectations of a romantic or uproariously great New Year's fete,  and some time ago I decided to just consider it a time to flip the calendar one more page and treat it like any other new day.  But then, that begs the question, how do I treat and handle each new day?  Do I have a way in which I reverence the turn of each calendar page?  Each sunrise?  Every morning that I wake?

I suppose these are questions that one asks in the "second half" of life.  I'm not so sure I have any answers, but I know for sure that I have wasted money, time, relationships, given myself over to too much eating, binging, consuming, and so on.  You get the picture.  I don't want to call it a resolution or even a goal, but maybe more of a mission in my life, a way of being in the world, that I would stop wasting.  Wasting time, wasting energy, wasting opportunities, wasting relationships and chances to know are ways that I would like to put behind me.

Instead, I want to replace wasteful living with abundance, living fully to God's glory, giving where I can and am able, taking less and risking more, staying less in safety and comfort and speaking out for justice and equality instead of sitting in my own comfortable privilege and the safety net of my circumstances, praying more and worrying less, breathing more deeply and sighing less, savoring and drinking in instead of over indulging.

When I was home for the Christmas and New Year break I went to my favorite religious art and book store in Oakland, Sagrada (if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have never been, you should go!).  There on the wall, amidst all the icons and the crosses and beautiful art was a simple, calligraphied piece with a quote from St. Benedict, "In all things may God be glorified."  This seems to be a simple statement with HUGE implications.  I pray that in this new year, in this new day, in my life, that it may be so.

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