Friday, December 30, 2011

Musings on the New Year

The New Year is upon us! "Or, is it?" as Ryan, the 14 year old in my family, will often respond to my occasional declarations. He has a way of calling into question things that I may take for granted with his simple comment, “Or, is it?”

With January 1, we begin the year 2012. Or do we? In China, January 23 will be the beginning of the year 4710. The Jewish New Year was this past September 28, beginning the year 5772. In the Islamic calendar, the New Year began November 26, and it is the year 1433. Many other cultures and regions have their own calendars and their own counting of the years. So, what do we make of the fact that there are so many different ways to measure the year, and count the years? Is it just another day, or is there something significant about turning the page of our calendar?

For many who follow the Gregorian Calendar this is the time to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the next. In the popular media there will be reviews of the year in the news, in movies, in celebrity mis-deeds, in deaths. For many, the New Year is about making resolutions about how behaviors will change in the coming year, which are mostly abandoned within the first three weeks.

For me, it is also a time for reflection and anticipation. In thinking about the past year, I am humbled, and I am extremely grateful. One major learning for me has been that I cannot always choose my circumstances; I can only choose how I will respond. I have found that I can choose to respond with gratitude, even in and through difficult situations. When I choose to be grateful I begin to see my situation in a new way. I see the challenges and opportunities. The challenges don’t magically disappear, but they are seen in context of possibilities. I am grateful for my colleagues at Community Hospice, for the talents and skills and compassion of our Chaplains, my interdisciplinary team and co-workers. I am grateful for new experiences. I am grateful for the way my family responded to our shared experience of our father’s illness and death. In gratitude, I anticipate the coming 12 months of the new year. Whatever the year holds, I know there will be new learning and new growing, and for that I am grateful.

What have you learned from this past year? What do you anticipate for the year ahead? Feel free to leave comments. I would love to hear from you.

May your New Year be rich with opportunity. May you discover what it is that enriches your life during the months ahead. Ah yes, the New Year is upon us! “Or, is it?”

1 comment:

  1. What a nice reflection! It can be mind-blowing to think of the difference a change of attitude can make in how we handle life's twists and turns. Now, just the small task of implementing..