Skip My Turn
Well, here we are again, my friends. Every year we put Thanksgiving behind us, we vault out toward the winter holidays, and then we are here, in this space together. We traverse this distance, this final leg of our journey together through the Bermuda Triangle of the holiday season toward the New Year. Our first stop, Thanksgiving, asks us to consider those things in life for which we are grateful. Then we turn the corner and pause at the end of December to wonder about miracles and the change in the season. For many, it’s already a voyage of discomfort, if not outright terror. And then comes the final turn: this final stretch toward New Year’s.
For many of us, this week leading up to the end of the year begins quietly. We have less appointments to keep, many workplaces are closed, and the ones that are open are pretty slow. You might call it a lull, but don’t be fooled. For amid this quiet starts an echo in your mind of that dreaded question: “So how are you going to change your life for the better…forever?”
You might know this question more commonly and innocuously as, “So, any New Year’s resolutions?” But don’t be fooled, my friends! At the heart of that question is a question about changing your very life.
If it helps, we know that we’re not alone. New Year’s resolution making has been a part of human cultures for more that four thousand years. The ancient Babylonians settled debts and returned borrowed items, and the ancient Romans made promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. But however the custom arrived for us, our contemporary approach is often focused on ways we are going to improve our lives. And I want it to stop.
More and more and more people who study our culture are finding that social media, advertising, and other influences are permanently altering the way we perceive ourselves, focusing more and more on what is wrong with us, what needs to be fixed. And for many, to consider what about them should change, what should be fixed or altered, after the experiences many have with the holidays leading up to New Year’s Day, the time many experience feelings of separation and anxiety, is just unfair, and I want it to stop.
Here is my dream: two peppy morning talk show hosts are at their desk as the camera zooms in to begin the segment on New Year’s resolutions. The first one turns to the second and says, “So, any New Year’s resolutions?” And the second one says, “Nope.” And in the awkward silence between the hosts that follows, I dream that all of us gathered together hear the absence of the constant reminders that we are not enough and we know in that moment that someone else understands that we are doing the very best we can with what we’ve got every single day. And that’s when the treacherous turn that our vessel should take to complete that terrible triangle…simply doesn’t happen. And we sail on together into the peace of the new day. And I don’t ever want it to stop.
Blessings to you today.