Happy New Year. Now What?

Happy New Year.  Now What?  The last two years have left us wondering what’s next.  We’re in a liminal phase waiting for something new to emerge.  We hope to cross a threshold to a better room, but we don’t know how, and we don’t know where we’re going. 

How do we craft meaningful New Year’s resolutions in the context of so many uncertainties?  

According to the internet, the most common resolutions are exercise more, lose weight, get organized, learn a new hobby, live life to the fullest, save money, quit smoking, spend more time with family and friends, travel more, read more. We’ve probably heard these before.

When I hear these resolutions, I conjure an image of God and Lucifer.  They go into a bar.  God says, “Look at the humans, aren’t they cute?  They make the same resolutions year after year, and nothing changes!”  Lucifer says, “Hey God, have you heard this one?  New Year’s resolutions go in one year and out the other.”  God and Lucifer laugh and pony up to the bar.

All kidding aside, are we setting ourselves up for failure with the same old resolutions?   

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Fear Not

Fear Not.  These words may sound familiar to you if you were raised in the Christian Tradition.  The Shepherds are abiding in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night.  Suddenly, an angel appears.  The shepherds are afraid.  Because they are afraid, I’m going to assume that they do what I do when I’m afraid – they overeat and watched bad television. 

But wait, the story doesn’t stop with their fear.  The angel says, “Put down that peanut butter, put down that remote.  Fear not, for behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy.”  The angel tells them of the re-birth of the Christ Consciousness – and the shepherds drop the remote control and powerwalk to Bethlehem. 

Richard Rohr says that the most common one-liner in the bible is “do not be afraid.”  Someone counted and it occurs 365 times.   Rumi writes “every day we wake up empty and frightened.”   Upon hearing these things, I ask “Have Rumi and the authors of the bible been reading my diary?  Or are they reading the collective diary written by humanity on the blank screen of existence?”  Metaphorically speaking, probably yes.

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Lost and Found

Duke and Carolina, washing off the debris of 2020.

Early Spring 2020:  We were hugging and singing in church.  I met with couples to talk about weddings.  People ate lunch in restaurants and there was two-ply toilet paper at Trader Joe’s.

Then the pandemic.  We were sent to our room (or was it our tomb) to think about what we had done.  We learned to do church on-line.  I preached my first live-stream sermon sideways via the iPhone of a well-intentioned volunteer. 

Sideways Sermon, circa March 2020

We all remember early pandemic stories about how we couldn’t find what we needed. One day, our dog Sara skipped breakfast. I thought she was sick so I took her temperature.  She was fine, but when my husband Hugh wanted to take his temperature, I told him that our thermometer might have been up in the dog’s bottom.

He asked me to get an untainted thermometer so I went on a quest. All thermometers in every store were gone.  Amazon too.  And that’s nothing compared to what we really lost –time with loved ones, touch, safety, well-being, and certainty.  I hold my breath and wonder how did we manage?   

Now it’s a year later.  Here in Southern California, the numbers are trending in a good way.  Maybe it’s time to resurrect….and I know a thing or two about resurrection. 

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