Last season’s fruit is eaten
And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~ T.S. Eliot
I knew I had to write something. As manufactured as it may be, New Year’s Day is pretty high on the list of inflection – or reflection – points.
Hamilton Wright Mabie said it best.
New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.
This year it’s hard not to send 2012 off with a shove in the ass and a final toast of, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” In so many ways, this year was unbearably difficult. We felt the deep pain of loss as never before. We felt fear and hopelessness and frustration. We felt profound disappointment in those to whom we look to lead.
These last couple of months in particular were stark reminders of how much work there is yet to do. We had no choice but to face the reality that, as a society, we are failing in so many ways to support those who desperately need our help. That when the shit hits the fan we are still driven by fear and still searching for blame among that which is other. That when it comes time to search for solutions, we entrench in our individual ideologies rather than seeking – and settling into – middle ground.
Above all, we were reminded just how fragile this life is. Just how easily those we love can be taken from us. And that hurt more than anything else.
But that wasn’t the whole story.
365 is a lot of days. And we can’t allow the dark ones, no matter how dark they may have been, to eclipse all the others.
There was life this year. There was growth and progress and connection and community. There was awareness and evolution and understanding and compassion and empathy. There was family – both by blood and choice. There was faith. There was gratitude. There was laughter. There was joy. There was love.
Two years ago today, I wrote the following. I think I’ll let it stand.
I’ll leave it at this –
2010 was hard. Yes, I’ve said that repeatedly, but trust me – HARD. Nearly comically so at times. And in many ways I won’t be sorry to see it go. But if I’ve learned one thing on this crazy ride, it’s that as overwhelming as the hard stuff might be at any given time, hard is never the only story. And if we wish the time away and long for nothing but kicking the years in the ass on their way out the door, we might just wind up denying ourselves a long list of really beautiful, life-changing memories.
I won’t miss the lows, but I will carry their lessons as I continue down the road. I will walk into the new year holding them close. But they will not be the only souvenir of the year past. They will be right next to the now very long list of good – really good – memories that are also etched into my being. And I will be grateful for the blessings – all of the blessings – of another year in this crazy life.
I wish you and yours happiness, health, peace, progress and joy in the New Year. And God willing, a lot more sweet than hard.
And, above all, an abundance of love.
Happy New Year, my friends.