Nothing says Happy New Year in Aspen like, well…six below zero. You Southerners who come to escape the heat in July don’t know how good you’ve got it in January!
As I reflect back on 2014 I feel doubly blessed. Not only was it a great year but it was all the sweeter because 2013 stunk so bad. You win some you lose some! Some years are just like that, aren’t they? They’re like a whole string of six-below-zero days. Parents take ill, jobs are unstable, kids struggle, knees get blown out, beloved pets die, the pipes burst, credit cards get stolen…and that’s just January!
Add the wind chill and it can feel like minus 67! You know what I’m talking about: low-grade stress at work, those extra holiday pounds that never went away, flu, insomnia, freakin’ perimenopause (just sayin’). You know: wind chill.
Some days all you can do is promise to just show up and try not to be a jerk. But then, just like a beach vacation in winter, the promise of the New Year is sweet and sure and oh-so-needed. It’s like a shiny new toy or a steaming cup of coffee when you’re suuuuper tired.
Despite familiar songs to the contrary, friends, you can absolutely forget auld lang syne. You can say goodbye to sadness and grief and disappointment and heartache and unrealized goals, and hurts and anything else that has made your precious hearts ache this past year. Sit on it, reflect on it, brood about it, talk about it till you’re sick of hearing your own voice….and then for God’s sake let it go. Because we cannot accept all the goodness and blessings that await if we are chock full of all the stuff we don’t want more of.
In the Old Testament there’s a story about a great king named Hezekiah, whose troops were slaughtered and his kingdom near ruins thanks to the former King of Assyria. All that remained was a bunch of ragtag soldiers and a patch of desert. But Hezekiah gathered the few (the proud) before him and said something remarkable. He told his troops to send up a prayer for what little they had left. In the midst of near utter defeat, when everyone else seemed to have abandoned him, Hezekiah prayed for God’s favor on what little they had. I guess I find this remarkable because in the middle of despair it’s easy to believe God has left the building, when in fact, God is still here. Waiting. Patiently. Always so patiently.
Hezekiah sends up his prayer and next thing you know God made him prosper “in all he set out to do.” Bam! Hezekiah didn’t dwell on his losses (though they were many). Holding on to old hurts means less room for the good stuff to come in. We have to empty our pitiful selves out and make room for God to fill us right back up.
So in this shiny new year, forget those six-below-zero days. Let your mind wander to the glorious 70s! Recall that day or week or…maybe you were lucky enough to have a whole month!…when the sun shined a little brighter. Send up a prayer for what you have, for even just that one day where the sun shone on your gorgeous face, and then know there is more of that just waiting for you in the new year.