It’s December, it’s Advent, it’s nearly Christmas. It’s time to take stock of the year. It’s time to think about the new year, that word for the year.
It’s a bit like starting a new school year. I loved that as a child. This was going to be the year that I would always be neat in my book, always be perfect. I loved opening a brand new, pristine, as yet untouched exercise (school) book. It felt like a new slate.
It’s also a bit like having a new baby. Ah, this time I will get it right, I’d think. This time I would be that perfect mother, do everything well, feed my baby and myself only natural foods.
That’s how I feel about a new year. A chance to do it right.
And even though I know there is no right, even though I know I will mess up and be me and that is okay, even then I still feel a small thrill. And a small sense of dread.
In taking stock of a year, we can grieve. We can smile.We can remember hurts and sorrows, we can remember the joy and smiles.
If something is not working, we can change it. Often times, it is a change that helps. Doing something replaces the inertia. “If it can be done now, do it now.” (Ruth Fields, in the book GYST).
If things are flowing, go with the flow. “A good life, a really productive life, exists because of all the action taken daily to sustain it.” Ruth Fields, GYST again.
For me, that means the little things that sustain. Little things like prayer. Reconciliation. Mass. Exercise. Smiling as a conscious act. Saying hi to a son and texting a friend. Lighting the Advent candle. Having dinner with whomever is home. Decorating or cooking for the liturgical year.
For while waiting for big things to change, or waiting to instigate change, or even when big things can’t change, the little things can sustain us. In taking stock of the year that was we can remember the little things. In planning for the new year, we can remember the little things.
They count, they count towards the year that was. They count towards the new, even if slightly smudged, slate.
They count. They count.