Happy New Year! Every end of December and through most of January, I go into “hermit mode”, become introspective, and think, read, plan, pray, write and dream. It helps that I live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York and it’s about ten degrees Fahrenheit outside and it’s snowing. Here is what I wrote on the 31st:
On this last day of the year, I’m taking a few moments to get quiet and reflect. To slow down and listen. Listen for God. Listen to the wind in the pines outside my window telling me that I am small but not insignificant. Listen to hope telling me to keep believing in God’s love for me and all the world, for God’s ability to make all things new. Listen to the winter birds that do not worry, that are provided for and known. Listen to my own soul that wonders, asks, doubts, and believes.
This year, for me, was a combination of sorrow and joy, confusion and clarity, lack and abundance, conflict and resolution, darkness and light, doubt and belief, waiting and fulfillment, being misunderstood and understood, rejection and acceptance, loss and gain.
In an age where words find ways to stab and wound and destroy as well as mend and heal and bring life, I’m praying for grace to walk into the New Year with peace and health in my soul, mind, and body and that I will give these gifts to others in my words and actions. All things new. That no matter my failures of yesterday, there is still hope for me, today and tomorrow.
As often-quoted as the prayer of St. Francis is, it is in my head and heart today as I face the New Year and bid farewell to 2017:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
As you walk into 2018, may peace lead the way, may hope shine in dark places, and may joy find you wherever you are.