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Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Years' Eve

It's always a strange night, full of strange anticipation...of what, exactly? But yet, it is there, the world gathering ritualistically to greet...a single moment. One minute; that's all. One moment of time, which would pass quietly but for all the noise we throw at it.

I remember as a child, at my grandparent's home in Michigan, my brother and I remaining while the adults left for the evening. In the morning, they would return with hats and noisemakers, smelling of cigarette smoke and vodka. We would hear them come in and turn over to go back to sleep. We didn't really care that at midnight people were screaming and yelling. If we couldn't go to the party, it must not be a very interesting one, anyway.

As we got older, this changed and if we were with Mom for New Year's, then we would usually go to a relative's home and enjoy movies, card games, or if at the state park where my uncle worked as a ranger, maybe we would enjoy snomobiling. I believe it was a New Year's Eve night out at the park as we raced through the woods on trails and in the ditches. I remember one moment I was holding onto my cousin as we came out of the ditch; in the next moment, I was sitting on thin air watching in astonishment as she drove away from me. Then I plunged into the deep, soft snow, laughing, unharmed.

New Year's isn't that much fun anymore. There have been nights at the bar with friends and communal bottles of champagne; there was one memorable night when I had way too much and topped it off with cheap sparkling wine; only to wake up in the morning sicker than a dog. I haven't done that since!

And the New Year's Eve when I turned up the alleyway to my boyfriend's home only to confront a girlfriend or ex-girlfriend who claimed she'd been sleeping with him - recently. I confronted him, learned he HAD, in fact, cheated on me with this cheap hussy some time before.

I spent that New Year's Eve with friends in a bar, and nothing tasted good. I don't think I stopped crying all night although I smiled brightly and otherwise pretended to have a good time.

The last few years I have opted to simply stay home and greet the New Year in my own way...whether awake or asleep. Last year I spoke to a coworker about this; I told him I thought something was wrong with me because I simply didn't care. I used to want to go out carousing with my friends; now I just prefer the peace and quiet I can only find in solitude.

He said there was nothing wrong with me; it was a sign I was a "grownup". Yet how many "grownups" still carouse at all hours?

Being an adult is strange territory; just this week the change of the year has made me consider the brevity of life. We celebrate a moment in time as though it is the moment of all moments, when really, it is meaningless, especially in comparison to all the other moments of our lives.

This time of year, people make resolutions, and spend New Year's Eve doing all the things they plan to swear off of in the next year; and of course, they fail miserably in their resolutions. Guaranteed, on January 2, the confessionals will be full of people saying to the priest, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned...I have already broken my New Years' Resolutions...."

By all means, this is a night to celebrate and enjoy the company of friends and family; to celebrate the passage of time, another year come and gone with the promise of another year ahead with all the mysteries it holds. It is a time to focus, not just on a single moment, but upon this gift we have all been given; this brief gift of life, this time in which we are but a glint in God's eye and then we will be with Him. This is a time to take stock of our lives, to consider what we have done right and wrong in the last year, and to decide what we can do to not so much improve our own lives, but the lives of those around us.

Yes, we have to improve ourselves; but while doing so, we can work on simple things such as looking out for others in small ways, and in that process, we will be changed.

My Dad passed away 12 years ago on January 3, so this is always a bittersweet time of year for me. One moment I'm joyful along with everyone else...the next moment I remember his death and Grief sticks a dagger in my back, driving me to my knees. But I try to remember one lesson he taught me; I remember his big heart, his generous soul, and that the legacy he left was in the people he touched in small ways. Even as he suffered, he managed to recognize the pain of others and reach out to them to make their lives better.

We are all called to this; so this year, if you are one to make resolutions, then resolve not so much to change yourself, but to let God change you. And resolve to do at least one thing, every day, that exemplifies the light of Christ to another.

The New Year isn't just a moment; it is a long string of moments, and for all of us, it will come to an end. And at the end stands Jesus to ask for an account of the moments we were given. Will we provide a litany of failed personal resolutions, or will be able to look around us and offer to the Lord all the people we have brought with us into His light?


Anonymous said...

OK! Pass the Kleenex! Another great post Adoro.

owenswain said...

Several yeas ago I made a resolution never to make another New Years resolution. So far I have been 100% successful and with only a few hours to go it's looking good for another year.

I try to live day by day and make resolutions as I go and chief among those is to let God change me, day by day.

Anonymous said...

Gosh! You're so good!

Happy New Year!

Adoro said...

Angela ~ OK, here's a kleenex.

Onionboy ~ I'm with you. I don't make resolutions either. Following Jesus is a day-by-day thing and he is so patient!

Terry ~ Huh?

Happy New Year to all!

Unknown said...

Thank you for a great year of reading your posts, Adoro. It is difficult to read them without calling on all of my emotions, some of which don't normally get that much exercise.

Thank you for sharing your life with us.

A Happy, Holy and Rewarding 2007 to you. You are in my prayers.