In the Bleak Mid-Winter

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Truth is, it hasn’t been such a bleak winter…yet.

In fact, as I write this, we’re experiencing weekend temperatures in the 70s.

In Virginia. In January.

Don’t lecture me on what that means. I’m old enough to remember Christmases when we’ve been outside in our shirt sleeves. One in particular was a good fifty-plus years ago when we were outside playing with a new puppy.

I’m also old enough to remember warmer winters when we got smacked with winter horrors in February.

All that to say that I’m not setting the houseplants on the porch just yet.

It’s mid-January and I feel like I didn’t get the clean start that I always want at the beginning of the year.

I mean, sure, the calendar turned over, but I didn’t get my usual time to plan and to reflect. I went from performances on January 1st to rehearsals on January 2nd.

I’m not complaining. These are the chains I forged in life.

But I will admit missing my time to sit and watch The Movies or the Rose Parade (I did watch that) with new pens and notebooks and calendars while I spend the time making lists and plans for all the things I’ll not really get to in the coming year.

It doesn’t matter that by April or May the lists will be forgotten or rewritten. It doesn’t matter that the notebooks will be set aside.

What matters is the ritual.

I didn’t get that this year.

Part of me thinks that I can just adjust and kick it off on Chinese New Years.

Perfect, I have a retreat and tech Sunday that weekend.

The reality is that New Years is a man-made construct anyway. January 1st isn’t any more special than December 31st. It’s just another page on the calendar.

When the ball drops in NYC, or wherever you’re doing your countdown, none of us are guaranteed the year to come. Some of you reading this, or perhaps writing this, may not be around to see another New Years Eve.

So, what do we do with that?

We recognize that we get one day at a time. What is important is what we do with that one day.

It’s cliche, but yesterday is gone, and tomorrow never gets here.

We get today. And that’s it.

Every morning we have a fresh, new day in front of us. It’s up to us to decide how we’re going to use it.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to deal with carryover stuff from yesterday. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan or dream about the future.

It just means that we need to make the most of today.

That will vary for each of us.

For some of us, making the most of the day might include that afternoon nap. And, that’s okay.

Even though I didn’t start the year this way, I’m constantly making lists and notes and plans for what I’m going to do.

The point is to keep going. Keep moving forward.

I’ve come to accept the fact that it’s okay if I don’t get to the entire list.

Lord willing, I’ll be able to start a new list tomorrow.

Cover Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash

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