Ring in the New Year

We are working our way backwards.

Passing the quiet snow-covered barns of Michigan and Indiana, the quiet fields and bare trees of Illinois, and the arch on the banks of the Mississippi in St. Louis.  The air is warming with every mile.

The gloaming is just coming on now, turning the Missouri sky purple and blushing.

There is something reverent about watching the sky all the way from the slow black-to-blue of early morning to the rosy embers of the coming night.  The beginning, middle, and end from my seat in the car.

It makes me wistful and pensive.  Full of the regrets of last year and the yearnings for this coming one.

I don’t do well with starting lines.

I get too nervous and tense waiting for the gun.  Which always results in a bad start, and too often I grind to a halt, knowing inside that the race is already lost. CIM is too often “all or nothing.” Poor RIM.

Clean calendars and new days are full of pressure and anxiety for my inevitable failure.

I do better in the middle:  the middle of conversations (just ask David…answering his first questions of “How was your day?” completely stymies me and turns me to stone), the middle of the day (so much more cheerful and productive once the morning chores are done again and the real work can begin), the middle of the week, the middle of dinner (after my blood sugar has risen a bit).

That said, I have only one resolution for 2009.  I am in the middle of something.  A seed planted last year, that I hope will continue to grow into a life of less regret.  I only want to continue to nurture this one seed.  And that is enough resolution for me.  More than enough.  The rest of the "new year's list" always dissolves and disappears amidst spelling lists and laundry piles and emptying the dishwasher and science projects.  I know this now.  I have had enough fresh starts to know this for sure.  But my resolution to change my heart can be (and in fact must be) accomplished amid the sprawl and chaos of regular life.

Last week in church we sang the song: Ring Out, Wild Bells, which we only sing on one Sunday a year.

Which is right, I suppose.  But which I still think is a shame.

It touched me to tears, and seemed to capture the essence of my resolution, particularly verse 3.  And so my word of the year is RING.

Here are Tennyson's words:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

The larger heart.  The kindlier hand.  The vast landscape of my own heart in need of more light.  


I hope I am positively vibrating this year.