I love fresh starts—new years, new seasons, even new journals, something as small as a new day. I love this idea of leaving behind the old and hard and awkward of the past and stepping into the new carrying, with you the lessons and the wisdom and the grace.
I have all these ideas of what to do with this new year.
At the top of the list is a restructuring of our days, making new rhythms based around the giving and receiving of Sabbath. Our days have been full of working and not working and children, speaking engagements, boxes and demands. There is this feeling of working too much and not enough all at once. There are dissonant chords I keep expecting to resolve and they never do.
We’ve been trying for Sabbath. Really we have. To paraphrase Einstein, we have found a thousand ways that do not work.
The closest I have gotten recently were long walks in the valley in the crisp fall air with Micah sleepily tucked into the carrier. Occasionally I would free him to toddle after a deer whose wide ears were alert, twitch-twitching.
Before, I let landscape speak to me. I divided off those Sabbath times with steps, by setting my feet in a different direction than normal, by changing out runners or high heels for walking shoes. But now we sit surrounded by snow and I can’t seem to find it in me to invest in the proper winter gear for one year of such walks. Besides, the valley is now far removed from our new house.
No one will carve out Sabbath for me. It is a gift given to me but I am responsible for its keeping. No one will pace out the boundaries of this space for me. I must.
Normally tea and candles are company affairs in our house. Today, though, I steep some double spice Chai and light a vanilla scented candle and sit with a new journal.
It is not that this tea-making and candle-lighting invokes the sacred but it reminds me that this is different.
It is not as though my last journal had all the pages filled. I just needed something new.
Inside the stained glass hurricane on my coffee table the flame flickers, sweet fragrance wafting, heat softening the wax, like those hardened parts packed around the wick of me are softening.
Maybe this will be a year of finding a voice again, a voice in prayer and a voice in writing.
I want joy to be at the centre of me, like a well-steeped tea. The waters of life, hot though they be, infuse meaning into my days. The longer I sit, the richer the flavour imbued, me sitting, stirring in honey and cream.
And something is stirring. I know Who it is but what it is doing, I haven’t found out yet. I need to retrain myself to sit, to listen, to speak the right words like, “I’m here. I’m staying. I’m listening.” And maybe, “Would you like a cup of tea?”