Happy New Wait A Minute

Happy Epiphany.  January 6.  Wise guys visit Jesus.  12th Day of Christmas.  All of that I get, but the convention of the date is my problem.

First of all, we may have gone “around” the sun in 365.25 days, but the sun moved.  We are nowhere near the same place as this time “last year”.  This spiral arm of the Galaxy moved.  Don’t you remember that crazy day in elementary school when someone delighted in telling you the eight or nine ways we are moving, leaving you queasy!?

I have welcomed the new year watching a ball drop in Times Square, the largest outdoor restroom for a night.  Really, the ball just drops and that means something?  Are you certain marijuana was not legal in New York decades ago?

I have welcomed it on my knees praying at that exact moment when the new year began. 

I have welcomed it asleep, driving, eating in some diner, playing games, with a few hundred screaming teens, and I have welcomed it with just Jill.  My favorite.  Not your business. 

And I have made resolutions, plans, goals with attendant tasks and been moderately successful in them.

But here is my point.  Why at this point in a calendar (don’t get me started on “calendar”) do we have hope for newness?  How did that come to be?  Why not Hannukah, Christmas, Ramadan, or Easter?  Going the other way, why not Halloween or Mardis Gras? 

It is just the first day of January.  Stay with me.

All the other months have a first day, Right?  Why THIS first day of THIS month?

Random.  If you want to compare my work check with the Jews and Chinese for their first days of their new year(s) dates. 

Don’t get depressed and sappy on me, just think about it.  Some very well meaning people chose this day after all their work on their “calendar” as a day to reset the months and days and begin again.  We attached all the rest of our hopes for weight loss, working out, saving, studying more, smoking less, quitting drinking, whatever to this Random Date.

SO, if you have already screwed up, fallen short, blown the resolution — pick another date and start again.  How about tomorrow?  If there is anything Christian in applying grace practically, that would be it.  Why don’t we start our relationship, business plan, forgiveness, kindness, savings again – first thing in the morning?  Any day is as good as some January 1!

There.  See Random can work for you occasionally.  And happy Epiphany. 

Blank Pages

The simplest discipline is a blank page. 

It does not matter if I am journaling, writing creatively, corresponding, tackling a project that shimmers in data and technical work, or writing a blog — the simplest discipline is a blank page. 

I make my students do this, push my sons to do so, and push (if you have known Jill for a nanosecond you know I speak of an impossibility here) Jill to pull out an empty piece of watercolor paper; and begin.

Mickey walked me through ten pages echoing his terror — at beginning.  He plans his day, outlays when and how much and then languishes as the terror infuses the procrastination with a stymying stoppage of everything.  I read his journal and then downloaded it to converse with each paragraph and sometimes each line.  I don’t do that grading everyone, and I don’t do therapy, but I could not help but engage his horror at starting, much less following through.

It strikes me, that if we live long enough we will not take anything for granted.  Getting out of bed is courageous, more for some folks than others.  Walking over and starting — anything — is a gift, if you can do it.  Don’t take it for granted that everyone can get up, walk over and start something. 

I responded to Mickey, but that doesn’t mean I did anything more than offend him, except to tell him to get help.  Real help. 

So, the next time that you have an empty sheet and you begin — anything, whisper a small ‘thank you’ that you are doing it without thinking about it so much that the page remains blank.