Tonight I will gather with little folks (and a few big) whom I love right here in my living room, and we’ll debate about staying up to see the New Year in. We may or may not watch some form of something dropping to beckon in 2018, and then the laughter will turn into sighs and we’ll gather up the remnants and used cups and crumpled napkins of 2017 and go to bed.
This is as good as I can do. I don’t have big plans and schemes for this New Year. If I start thinking of tomorrow as a day THAT ALL BIG THINGS MUST BEGIN, I kind of sort of start breathing a little funny and want to go crawl in Miss Sophie’s crate with her and wait for spring and for this “all great ideas and good intentions” phase to pass.
Because, see, my feet are cold, and most days I have to take it one day at a time.
My Mama said that is okay.
She said do your best, that’s all your Daddy and I ask of you.
And that I can try to do. Moment by moment, minute by minute, hour by hour, and sometimes day by day.
But a whole year? In one big gulp?
I’m happy for folks who are excited about the newness of tomorrow and the 364 days to follow. But for many of us, 2017 and 2015 and 2013 and 2011 were really really hard, and we’re still learning a new way to breathe because of what happened when the clock turned over to November 13 and 17 and December 18 and February 10 and September 26 and May 12 and January 11 and all of the other days of the year when we had hard things happen. For some of us, each day is a new challenge, filled with moments of learning new ways to live.
If you are of the mind of taking on new ways of living and find tomorrow a good day to start, maybe grace could be a good one to add to the list. Most of all, be kind to yourself. And others. When days are hard–for you or someone you know and those you don’t, offer grace and kindness. Grace that it’s okay to say it’s hard and stay in bed for the day, literally or figuratively, and kindness in the midst of the struggles. A smile, a listening ear, a hand to hold, patience, empathy.
Tomorrow we will have the traditional greens, peas, cornbread, and such. I’ll try not to do anything I don’t want to be doing the rest of the year (though I’ve found reframing certain things has helped me in this old tradition), and I won’t be doing any laundry out of respect for the ones who’ve gone before me. We will spend time sharing stories and laughing and remembering.
And I will do my best to rejoice and be glad in the day, as my Mama reminded me I am called to do everyday.
But for now, I just can’t take on the chunk of a year all at once. If you are struggling with another day of celebrating and being surrounded by festive spirits, know you are not alone. We are all doing the best we can and walking each other home, as Ram Dass wrote. Come sit with me, Miss Sophie will make room, and we’ll warm our toes by the fire and sit quietly and we will be okay. And if tomorrow is a day of new beginnings for you, I wish you all the best. Some of us will be celebrating the dawning of a New Year and some will be thankful for making it another day and some folks will be somewhere in between. AND ALL OF THAT IS OKAY.
Wishing you all a good night’s rest, the energy to get up tomorrow, and the still quiet of peace settled in your heart today and in all the days to come.
Love to all.