The last few weeks have been hard. I was sick. My back and leg are really jacked up. Christmas felt sad. I was just ready to get past the holidays and into some sort of normal routine again. And then I realized that I don’t really have any sense of “normal” right now. So I started thinking about the new year and what I’d like to make of it.
Several people have asked me if I’ve made my resolutions for the new year. I’ve never been one to set resolutions to begin every January 1st. I used to say I didn’t believe in them. You know all the research about how we set ourselves up for failure because 92% of us won’t keep our resolutions more than a few weeks, blah blah blah.
For me, it’s just that nothing magical happens as we reach midnight on December 31st. The pain and sorrow I experienced in 2013 did not suddenly vanish with 2014. If anything, each tick of the clock recently has been a more palpable reminder of the frailty of human life. Likewise, hope and joy did not suddenly ride in on the horns of unicorns to sprinkle me with rainbow dust and enable me to fly away (although that would be stinking awesome). Because hope and joy didn’t need to swoop in–they have always been here. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it through 2013 in the first place.
I’m absolutely not knocking those who do make resolutions. I have several friends who mark each year by the specific resolutions they’ve set, and I think they’re rock stars. I highly admire their diligence as they seek change in key areas of their lives with every new calendar. It’s just not how I’m wired. I look forward to fresh starts and clean slates immensely, and sometimes a new month or a new year is desperately needed. But I just can’t bite off a whole year at a time. I hang my hope more on the new mercies that come moment by moment. I don’t know how to get through a day without them.
So I looked back at the last year, by far the most difficult of my life, and I pondered what I should resolve to do in the next one. I wondered if I should set a bunch of resolutions to make sure I was living life to the fullest this year. I thought about my health and my habits, and I considered all of the things I hope to accomplish before I die. It turns out that my conclusion ended up being the same as every year before.
My Not New Year Resolution is to simply hold tightly to the hope that I have. Hope that new mercies are always just around the corner when dark days try to tell me otherwise. Hope that I was created by a God who knows my inmost being and could cure my incurable cancer with one word. Hope that there are good days ahead, because there always are. And hope that when trials come, because they always do, I will survive, because I always have. Hope that love really does conquer all, even all of the hatred and judgment and bigotry out there.
There are several things I deeply desire to see happen this year, but I can’t bring a single one of them to pass by my own power. So I resolve to allow the hope that I have to color each moment of my life. I will fail, probably a lot. But I will keep going, because I don’t know how else to live. And all of the other stuff will just be taken as it comes.
Happy New Year. May you know hope & joy this year in the midst of any pain & sorrow.