It never stops, the turning of the year.
The great wheel rolls ever on and on, and we roll with it.
Only sometimes, it may seem as if we are running to catch up.
And on some days, we may stumble and be ground underneath.
A year ago, at this time, I was pondering the age old tradition of the ‘New Year’s Resolution’. I suggested that there was more to it than simply making some trite pledge, lacking meaning or consequence.
“A resolution is more than a vow to be made and broken, it is the answer to a question asked. Consider the last three hundred and sixty five days to have been a puzzle or a test. How did you resolve it?”
Knowing how to approach the coming year is as much about looking back as it is forward. And so here I am, looking for a glimpse of the future in the dying embers of the year gone by.
What have I learned?
Well, for one thing, I’ve learned that writing your thoughts down is important.
I’ve never been one for journaling, and I realize now that far too many years have slipped past me, their many lessons obscured by hazy memory.
Writing things down, in the moment allows us to gain multiple perspectives, that might be otherwise denied us. I know how I feel about the thing now, but knowing how I felt about it six months ago, or a year, or longer, gives us a much more rounded perspective, than that available through simple hindsight.
The truly galling thing here, is that I knew this already, I just didn’t think it was important.
Okay, so keep writing. Good. Check!
Well, even more important to me than knowing that I should write, is the discovery that I can.
I’ve made it twenty-one months without missing a weekly post (although there were a few weeks that came really close). To my complete astonishment, I’ve put down something over 83,000 words over the course of those months, many touching on topics and experiences I would never have believed myself willing to share in a public forum before now.
It’s no wonder my girlfriend calls this blog “the other woman.”
It consumes great swaths of my time and attention.
Perhaps too much.
There are lessons to be learned there as well, perhaps.
What more have I learned in the past year?
I’ve learned that sometimes, the most privileged are the most likely to feel that they are persecuted against. I’ve learned, once again, that the face in the mirror may reflect more truth than we ever wanted to see. I’ve learned that both grief and joy can live in the memory of a Dream, that people have largely forgotten what words like “sacrifice” and “belief” really mean, and that today’s plans are tomorrow’s ghost stories. I’ve learned that some people look for their god in a book, and others seek their gods among pop-culture heroes, but more and more, I am able to find mine by just opening myself up to the world around me.
Another important lesson I’ll take away from this year: Don’t jump to conclusions!
Back in March I wrote a post about the newly minted Pope Francis which, in light of his words and actions over the intervening months, may have been a bit more cynical than necessary. Now, I’m not issuing a retraction by any stretch. I’m still more than a little suspicious of those who put him in power, and dubious as to his ability to affect any real change in the Catholic Church. He and I believe in VERY different things, but still, I must give the man credit for pissing off the cultural conservatives at almost every opportunity. A job well done, sir!
And so we stand now over the grave of 2013, shovels in hand, taking one final look at the year that was, before we start the hard work of filling in the hole. Each scoop of soil we spill, we will pull from a new plot of unbroken earth just to the side of this yawning pit. We cover over the old year even as we dig a grave for the new.
And such is, as it has ever been.
The wheel turns and we turn with it.
Two-Thousand and Thirteen is down.
May Fourteen find us all the wiser.