Happy New Year!
I do hope saying “Happy New Year!” doesn’t offend anyone.
All of those words are magnificent, especially if you have been ill for any length of time or if you have had a close brush with death. It can also be special to those who have suffered trauma from child sexual abuse or trafficking, both can feel as close to death as life can be.
Who couldn’t argue that happy is a good word. I think of what’s happening that is good. So, it’s like wishing all the things that happen to you are good. A year long blessing calling for the happenings in your life to make you happy.
Happy, joyful, exuberant, energetic, full of life, because you are alive. Of course, hard things happen to everyone. The degree of impact from one event to another and the level or lack of happiness can never be constant. That’s kind of a defining part of being alive.
Nothing is constant. The great joys and the great pains don’t last. We can recall them, for good or for bad. Happiness, to a degree is a choice, because we cannot control what happens around us. We can only control our responses. Getting through the really bad stuff and dwelling in the really good things that happen is super important.
When good moments happen, we can learn to notice everything about it. What smells are there? What do you see? What does it feel like? Make the memory to the fullest extent. That will be a resource for us to think of when life is hard, just a momentary retreat into memory. It will help us stay calm and give us perspective to regain composure and get to looking for a solution to whatever is giving us difficulty.
New is awesome. A new baby, a new car, a new home, a new, exciting exhilarating opportunity; everyone has their idea of the best new thing. If you have come close to dying, every day is new. Just waking up can become drudgery, if we let it. Any lifestyle can be a bore, but this, Happy New Year wish means that every new day in the new year is attached to the word, “happy.”
Scripture tells us that we are created to live in cycles and seasons. The sleep/wake cycle is important. “His mercies are new every morning,” reads Lamentations 3:22-23. So too, are weekly, monthly, and yearly cycles. We also live with seasons, of childhood and youth, of adulthood and of our elderly years. Whether or not you are entering a new season, this wish is that whatever is new will be happy.
Our Calendar will turn in a few days. In our modern culture, we have attached significance to the event. In some cases, epic parties ring in the new year. How many people go to Times Square for the moment when the clock and calendar trip over? How many more list New Year’s resolutions that, ostensibly, improve their lives or the lives of their loved ones? There’s nothing magical, but there is certainly something mythical about ending one year and beginning a nw one.
It seems like a new chance for a change, when, in fact every moment we are alive is a chance at change. Every breath is an opportunity to make a different choice, plot a new course, go in a new direction, if even for that moment. There’s not hard fast rulebook. Try and fail and try again, if the change you seek is not sticking.
Grandios statements are seldom an answer to a problem. It is by small incremental change that we regain health after we are struck with a grave illness. It can be so painfully slow, that only others notice the small plateaus. If we can keep our joy, staying in the moment, we can get well. Even if we don’t, why should our final days be miserable?
I doesn’t matter what we are up against, if we can recall good memories and entertain moments of joy, “a merry heart, it does good like a medicine,” says Proverbs 17:22. What is a year, but a time made of moments.
Happy New Year
To you and yours, I hope you have your best year yet.