There is something luminous about waking up to freshly fallen snow that wasn’t there before your eyes settled into darkness. It’s a gentle reminder of the mystery and beauty that takes place when we aren’t always looking. That life continues on in spite of us. Sure, that can be a humbling sentiment to swallow, but it’s also a refreshing truth, I find. To recognize that just as the earth is in motion, beginning again, afresh and anew each minute, we are invited to begin again; to fall into grace as we approach new thresholds on our journey.
I have never loved New Years Eve. I always found it to hold expectations that I couldn’t live up to internally and definitely not externally. But this year was different. I got off a plane in Montreal and was scooped up by friends, who I just met a few months ago, to travel to Quebec City to ring in the New Year (if you ever need a wintery, romantic, old European style getaway – go to old Quebec City this time of year. It will not disappoint!) All that to say, the celebrations began as soon as we arrived, and we were greeted with so much hospitality and warmth.
Though I can feel the weight of expectation on NYE, I have always enjoyed the invitation it brings us to reflect, and set intentions for a new year ahead. And though this year was special, with those few days of laughter and merriment sandwiching the past and anticipating the new; I know it won’t always be like that. So, I give thanks for the moments that remind me of the joy of new beginnings.
The arrival of a new decade felt significant. Perhaps it’s because I have been embarking on a new academic journey, moved to a new city, or that I will be leaving my twenties this year and entering my thirties. Either way, it felt monumental. And so, I honour that by practicing a sense of openness and not attaching to what I think will or “should” be.
Isn’t there something in it though, the start of a new year? It is a threshold of sorts. A time when all of us, globally, begin again. Whether we admit it or not, I think most of us are grateful for this moment in time that shouts, “This isn’t the end of the story!” All of the experiences of the past year isn’t where time stops. It keeps going, and small mercies keep coming. I like to think, that NYE is a macro event representing all the micro one’s in our daily lives. Though it ushers us into a whole new year, it reminds us of the little new beginnings we get every single day.
As I think about what the gift of a “new year” and a “new beginning” gives us, I do think of all the times we have felt let down, or let down someone we love. The times we have been hurt by others and hurt others in return. I think of all the moments that we have not lived into our fullest potential, or have made decisions more out of fear rather than from love and trust. We have all been these people or done these things, and to begin again is to say to ourselves and others, “I forgive you. Try again“. It’s in these moments we are able to extend grace, compassion and inspiration for all the times that we chose not to. It’s in these moments we have the chance to make things right; to change the things we know we need to change. This is the gift of beginning again — we also get to.
And so, may we embrace that with full hearts, not taking these small graces for granted. May we live them, live them full and true.
Burning the Old Year