The new year is about to begin, and I am surprisingly unmoved.
This year hasn’t been the best of years for our family. We lost my father-in-law, which has kind of thrown everyone off and strained my husband’s already-full schedule. I went back to work, which is a good thing in itself but which has kept me from being able to relieve my husband of any of his responsibilities.
On the other hand, I went back to work, which is a good thing. I enjoy working in a school, even though there can be serious pressures in being responsible for other people’s children. Spending most of your time with teenagers can be very tiring, but it also keeps you in touch with the world. There is no group of people more in touch with the world than high school students.
They’re also fun. Yes, they can drive you nuts, but teenagers exude an energy that replenishes my own. That’s another good thing, since I spend so much of my own energy on them.
I guess the best thing about 2010 has been the gift of another life to our family. God blessed our son and daughter-in-law with their first child and our first grandchild. What can I say? Life is precious.
My husband is still with us—another gift of life. Ten years ago, we had no assurance that he would be with us even another five years, but here we are, going on eight years out from a heart transplant, and he’s still here.
The loss of my father-in-law has made it clear that my generation is quickly becoming the older generation. Although my mother is living, as are her two sisters and one of her brothers, my husband now only has one aunt. He wanted to take a week of Christmas break to go to Arizonato see her, but I just couldn’t do it.
I understand his need to go visit her, though. Ginny is even older than his father was, and I know my husband wants to strengthen his last family tie before it’s gone for good. He has cousins, but they all live too far away to be close. Shoot, I have cousins forty miles away that I almost never see.
Maybe the sudden realization of mortality is behind my lack of enthusiasm for the New Year. Each new year puts all of us a little bit closer to the end of our days, and maybe I’m just not ready to give up the time I’m in just yet.
However, I have never been one to worry about death and dying. My husband had a dangerous occupation, and I slept just fine. Of course, I always experienced a moment of concern when an ambulance headed south on a hot summer day, but I never actually expected to get news that my husband’s plane had gone down.
“It is appointed unto man once to die,” and that moment is God’s to determine, not mine. Besides, there are far too many times and ways for death to come to us. Just the other night, we saw a television show in which a young man on a subway received a text stating that a test had shown him to be cancer-free. In the middle of his celebration, the train was involved in an accident, and he was the only passenger killed. Death doesn’t follow our rules.
So, I can’t say that I dread the New Year; I’m just not that excited about it. I think something that’s come with age is the recognition that one day is really like another. Sure, there are special days. I will always love Christmas and the Christmas season. New Year’s Day is my birthday and will be for as long as I’m around to enjoy it. Easter Sunday will always be a day for celebrating the life-giving resurrection of our Lord.
More important, though, every day is one more day that we’ve been given to live to the fullest. Every day is a day to be with family, to go to work, to relax with a book, to spend time with God. What does it matter if that day is in 2010 or 2011? Those are just numbers, and the numbers are meaningless in God’s time. Why should I let them dominate mine?
That doesn’t mean I don’t have hopes for this year; it just mean that I know that January 1 is not magic. Resolutions made on that day are no more lasting than resolutions made on any other day. On the other hand, I’m not going to stop entering the Publishers’ Clearinghouse Sweepstakes online. You never know when God may decide to pop my number up to the top. 2010, 2011, 2012—it makes no difference to me.