going into 2019
It’s a brand new calendar year, but not a brand new me. And I suppose a brand new me at the start of each new year would be alarming, and hard in ways I haven’t had to consider. Could you imagine, literally hitting some sort of cosmic reset button every year? Or to enter a new year and with a snap of your fingers, all the things you’d worked on, failed at, succeeded at, were suddenly a part of you, part of your routines?
It was something I once may have thought I wanted, but I don’t think I do anymore. Even as, barely into the second hour of the new year, I found myself with a years-long issue tripping through my mind. Ready to drift off, to tackle the new year, but battling instead the newest up-cropping of something old and familiar instead. And having a not-new-to-this-year, but a recently new thing – a good thing – chase down the well-worn. That’s how life goes, no? A mix of old and new, past and hoped-for future, all mashed into the ‘here and now’ of us.
This brings to mind a quote I came across a little while ago which I’m still thinking on, and it’s this:
“A monument only says, ‘At least I got this far,’ while a footprint says, ‘This is where I was when I moved again.’” –William Faulkner
I don’t fully agree with the seemingly implied connotation that monuments are bad, though. After all, it can be truly encouraging to look back on a monument and see a marker of how far you’ve come, of the thing achieved or done for you that was – is still, even – a good thing. But I do also know this: It’s not good to stop learning/moving/growing. If I always had my way and got to stay in the places I deemed good, familiar, and safe, there are many rich and wonderful things I’d have missed out on. And it’s not a good way to live a life. I need the footprints, too – the evidence of movement, of where I got up and tried something again, or where something new was learned (or is still being learned). Monuments and footprints are both, I think, important and needed. It’s a lesson from one of my pastors I’m starting to grasp, this looking at where we have been, where we are now, and where we want to be going.
So here is to a brand new calendar year, to the old and the new and the yet-to-be parts of us, of these lives. May we steward all of them well.