A New Year Begins

1 Jan

Like a snake shedding its skin, the end of the year always presents a unique opportunity to let the old fall away. For this reason, I find New Years’ Eve one of the most spiritual days of the year, as we sit pregnant with new possibilities. And like a tentative mother waiting to give birth, I use the day before New Years’ as one of rest and contemplation, avoiding revelries and alcohol, if at all possible. Instead I prefer to be alone or at least in a quiet setting so that I can better hear what God intends for me.

It is also a time to take stock of what has occurred and been accomplished during the year. In our busy lives, we often don’t take time to recognize the progress we’ve made. Like seeing a child everyday, we sometimes fail to notice how much we’ve grown until we stand back and look at the mark on the wall from when we last measured ourselves. New Years’ Eve is a time to do that – to gauge our growth whether incremental or dramatic. 

Like Dicken’s famous line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”, that is how a year can sometimes feel – full of blessings and tragedies simultaneously. I know for me, this year was truly “the best of times and the the worst of times.” I lost my mother under tragic circumstances, making it horrific. However, quoting Camus, “In the heart of winter, I found an invincible summer.” While helpless as an infant, family and friends swaddled me in love until I outgrew the initial shock of bereavement and could slowly stand on my own two feet again. I also found a loving church community, instilling me with a profound sense of God, hope and strength. Despite my mom’s death, I felt born anew in Christ. In that, I found a sense of peace and purpose I am carrying into 2009. And I hope that this purpose will become further defined as the year unfolds.

Finally, for the last number of years, I’ve engaged in two New Years’ rituals: one is called the bowl burning exercise, which is often done at churches, in groups or in solitude. After meditation/reflection, one writes down all that s/he wants to release from the year and then lights a match to this paper to symbolically release the events and their subsequent energies to the ethers. The second is to map out all one’s intentions and wishes for the New Year in the categories of work, spirituality, relationships, etc. A Santa’s wish list so to speak, although I find it best to not concentrate too much on how these longings may or may not manifest. Instead, I like to leave that up to God. However, if you don’t ask, you don’t receive. And without vision or hope, it’s hard to know how to proceed.

I find the best way for me to walk into 2009 is to let God navigate. If I can quiet down enough to listen to the still, small Voice within, chances are, He’ll guide me towards my dreams in His time and in His way. And I try to remember to enjoy the journey instead of always focusing on the destination.  

Happy New Years and welcome to my blog!

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4 Responses to “A New Year Begins”

  1. mel :) January 1, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    There is no better way to phrase or express what you wrote. It hit various parts of my heart, mind and soul, especially the part about letting God lead in every part of my life. This desire is stronger now than it has ever been before. What excites me is that it will get stronger and much deeper walk with God. Life with the Lord is unique and exhilarating. I know that the later is not normally described in the “down” parts of life, but through Him the “down” parts become abundant joy. Thank you for sharing your heart Lise. Hope more people read and listen to what God has to say to them. Hugs w luv, mel 🙂

  2. Laura January 2, 2009 at 3:39 am #

    As I read your heart on paper I realize how much we as humans need. Need tradition,need spontaneous acts, need to be heard, need spirituality, need to be accepted, need to go against the grain, need to belong somewhere…need to be needed. I find going into 2009 with a family my ideas have changed. I go in looking through a childs eyes,with a chronic illness, a new marriage, new job,and new friends. But you say exactly how I will proceed…God driving….My word last year to focus on was HUMBLE. This year it is CHANGE. Thank you for starting your BLOG..It makes me reflect and relate so clearly.

  3. Ed January 2, 2009 at 6:21 am #

    Great Blog! I love your thoughts on the the potential 09 presents. It’s a gift from God!
    Shalom,

    Ed

  4. LIssa January 5, 2009 at 4:42 am #

    May this year be “the best of times,” Lise.
    Wishing you a Happy New Year- and welcome to the blogosphere!
    Lissa

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