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Standing on the Edge of the Unknown

December 30, 2010

Late in December, a coworker of mine slips into the office early and lays a new, National Geographic calendar on each desk.  This ritual has been going on for years, and I wait for the calendar, anticipating its arrival.  At the same time I’m nervous that this year it won’t appear.  I’ve grown accustomed to seeing it show up and look forward to this symbol that represents a new year.  With the calendar comes the excitement of the unknown and hope for new adventures. 

As I remove the old calendar from my desk, a certain sadness grips me.  I thumb through the pages and appreciate my favorite pictures one last time, and as the year slides through my fingers, memories flit past my mind’s eye.  Memories of the unexpected snow day, the awful month of budget interrupted by the birth of a niece, the excitement of a first date and then the letdown when it didn’t work out, the comfort of an evening spent with an old friend who popped into town unexpectedly, and the death of a grandparent all flood over me.  Nostalgia overwhelms me, and I find that I’m stuck.  I want to go back and redo.  I want to go back and savor one last moment with my grandma, but that moment has already slipped away and is now gone forever.  I cannot go back, only forward.  Finally, I let the year go, and the calendar drops into the recycle bin.

The New Year is before me!  What will it hold?  I’m filled with hopes and dreams not yet fulfilled.  So I step forward and plunge into this annual new beginning. 

Perhaps if I knew what really awaited me, I would hold back in fear.  If I could see the difficulties and sadness that must also come, maybe I wouldn’t embrace this coming year.  I’m reminded that one cannot separate the bad from the good, and each year must hold some of both. 

Why do we put such significance on January 1?  Is this our chance to start over? 

In a way, yes; we can put mistakes behind us and resolve to do better in the coming year.

As you say goodbye to 2010 and turn to 2011, remember that each day between January 1 and December 31 is a day to be embraced and lived, a gift from God.    No, we don’t know what the year will hold, but we can take comfort knowing that all of God’s plans serve a purpose. We may not fully see the completion of His designs now, but we know that they will be beautiful in His time.

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 3, 2011 4:56 pm

    Laura, I savored this post from the first word to the last. I “me too”-ed all the way from your reflections over another calendar spent to your pondering the art of opening your heart to all God will bring in each new year.

    ‘So true: In embracing both the “good” and the “bad,” we find each has a beauty and power that nourishes our souls. Ecclesiastes 3:11–flavored with your signature tenderness–was perfectly refreshing today. Thanks.

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