Normally, I don’t put much into New Year’s day. Or New Year’s eve, for that matter.
As a matter of fact, it’s usually just another day for me. Maybe there'll be football. Nothing big; just a day off of work and another excuse for people to go out, get drunk, be obnoxious and say it’s all in the spirit of the “holiday.” I don’t usually buy into it; I don’t believe that most folks are going to change their ways in resolution, I don’t believe the new year brings new hope, and I don’t mark days or seasons. It’s just another day. Just another year gone by where I didn’t do the things I hoped, the things I wanted and in a lot of cases the things I needed to do. I haven’t generally accomplished anything of import, I haven’t done any good for humanity, and I haven’t done right by my family. My wages are, if I’m lucky, the same as they were last year. I’m still working steadily if I’m really blessed, and don’t have to worry about the coming year and finding employment during the first quarter, and will be okay for the most part. Like I said, it’s generally just another day for me.
Over the last couple of years, I haven’t really been able to capture the holidays. That’s really important to me. It’s my favorite time of year, it’s my favorite season, I love Christmas, and for much of my life, the holidays have been a mish-mash of raging alcoholics, family feuds and frantically searching for a new job. There haven’t been many years where I could sit back, enjoy the time, and just feel the joy of the season. This year, I nearly missed it again. It was work, and worry, and concern over what I’m going to do next year for a paycheck. I was depressed over losing a job opportunity that would have meant a huge leap forward for me and my family in both income and opportunity. I’ve had my career on my mind a lot over the last few months, and Thanksgiving got away from me without much notice except for a four-day weekend. Christmas almost snuck up and got through unnoticed too, but for my wife’s herculean effort to bring me back around. Some last minute shopping for the kids and a bit of eggnog and Christmas music helped rescue it for me. Then came this weekend, and I felt that this would certainly come and go without so much as a yawn from me. The only catch would be remembering to put the new date on any references and checks I write. Not the big.
But, this year turned out differently.
For some reason, my wife was able to catch and hold me this year. She was able to pull me down and make me realize that, maybe, just this once, there IS something worth hoping for at year’s start. She made me realize that, maybe, just this once, there was not just hope, but a reason for optimism and a chance to really do something differently than I’ve done before.
So today, for the first January
And it wasn’t just my plan; it was our plan. My beloved and precious spouse helped me come up with it. She backed it, believes in it, and is hopeful in it. She reaffirmed that she believes in me, believes in us, and still holds that Pollyanna hope that the Lord has bigger, better things for us – not just in a spiritual way, though that would be cool enough on it’s own, but in a whole-life kind of way. She made me hope, and each year that it didn’t come to pass I felt that hope fading.
Until this year.
Today, I have resolutions of my own to make. I have a plan for my career, and if God is willing, it will work out for us. I have a plan to be a better, happier person and to grow as an artist. And, while I don’t know whether all or any of these things will come to fruition, I know that I have a real, unbridled sense of hope that I didn’t have last week. I have the sensation that, for the first time in a long, long time, the holidays were meaningful and good, and I didn’t miss them. But best of all, I have a reason to believe that things will be better this year than last.
May God help us.