Happy 2012! The first Monday of a new calendar year is here. I wish everyone that graces these pages a year filled with peace, hope and light. We will all see otherwise, no doubt, but may the Strength of God, the Light of Christ, the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit guide us always.
Today I am thinking about not making resolutions and about choosing to live in a particular way. What about you? Do you make resolutions?
On Saturday night, my husband Mark, my stepdaughter Erica and I went to First Night Saratoga for the seventh consecutive year. Erica is at an age where she will begin to individuate from us, so we are very clear about trying to enjoy the time that we do spend together.
That said, Erica delivered a piece of news to me a few hours before we departed that broke my heart. After a good cry and a lot of prayer, I was ready for our evening together.
Our dog has also been very ill, since a few days before Christmas. However, on December 31 she was the best she has been. We were all overjoyed.
In any case, we set forth, on a warmer than usual New Year’s Eve and headed north to Saratoga. We wandered the streets, entering different venues, listening to music, gazing at art and just enjoying the parade of life. The streets were so full, it was wonderful!
At the same time I was aware of the many vacant storefronts and of a few stores holding going out of business sales. And one cannot walk down Broadway without being aware of the hulking, empty corner property that was once a vibrant Borders bookstore.
We made our way over to the Carousel in Congress Park. It is closed more often than open on New Year’s Eve and we were delighted to see it open! Mark handed each of us a dollar and Erica and I entered the closed merry-go-round space and chose our horses; she wanted me next to her. At that moment, her 15 year old self was filled with loving delight. This could change at any minute, so I simply luxuriated in the warmth of what we were sharing. Another gift was that I often feel too overweight and unsure on my feet to mount the horse. Yes – this is sad but true. However, after recent weight loss, I hopped on and had a great time. It was a delightful ride all the way around and like all rides, it ended too quickly.
Back to Broadway, we made our way through the crowds of people. There was a fantastic singer in one store window and while we listened for a moment, we decided to move on. The way to do that was around the back of the crowd and Ms. Bossypants Fran lead the way.
The crowd formed a veritable wall of humanity and I was determined to get us past with speed… If you go to Saratoga, you may be aware that in the spring and summer, there are raised beds of flowers planted all along Broadway. In the depth of winter, these beds are simply a blanket of soil, surrounded by bricks.
Without looking down, I forged ahead and it all happened so fast… I felt my foot catch the brick and was acutely aware of the sensation that the ground was rushing up to meet me. In a rare moment, I did not tense up, but just let go of any notion that I could stop what was happening. This, like all accidents that I’ve ever had, seemed to be in slow motion and in fast forward simultaneously.
Given the warm weather, the mud gathered me in its dark embrace and for a second, I just lay there. Then the human control alarm in my brain started to ring out and I leaped up, feeling a mix of anger, shame and – well, more anger and shame.
Mark and Erica could see that I was fine, so laughter ensued. Lots of it. I was laughing too! Yet at the same time I saw my freshly cleaned winter coat all muddy and my pants a complete mess. Let’s not even discuss my shoes. Worse than that, my hands were blacker than the night. I began to imagine all the visitors to that mud – from shoe soles to canines in need of relief and then I wanted to cry.
So where is this long musing, this endless ramble going… Before one year ended and before another began, I had known so many feelings! The joy of our dog’s rebound, the sorrow of Erica’s decision about something, the happiness of our family tradition, the awareness that it would not last forever, to name a few.
And then there was the mud, the awful, black, God-know-what-is-in-it mud all over my hands, shoes and clothes. Yet it did not take long for me to see that in a different light. What if I had fallen on the sidewalk and hurt myself? I was talking to someone recently who tripped and lost two teeth! What if it had been icy and I had thrown out my back?
No, the mud was gross but it did cushion me. More than that, some element of me had reacted differently, surrendering to the fall and not struggling against it. I did not get hurt at all, my coat will be cleaned and my jeans are washed. The shoes – well, they might not make it.
Each discrete moment of life is not all good or all bad. I guess I end the year and begin the new one with a heightened awareness of how God weaves all of the moments of our lives together.
While I am not one for making resolutions, I will say that I want to live this year with heightened awareness that God is weaving and I can work with or against that. I hope to go with it, I know that there will be times I go against it. But I will keep trying.