Today, as the old year winds to a close and the new one readies itself in the wings, I sit at my study desk, among my books, sipping coffee and looking out the window at the late-afternoon yard wet with rain. A few birds and squirrels are busying themselves at the feeders and among the soggy leaves. Beyond, the river flows, smooth and unbroken, the color of green-gray slate.
Janus, the old Roman deity and keeper of gates and doorways, was usually depicted with two faces…one looking behind, the other ahead. I feel a little bit like that at this moment—remembering things which have happened these past twelve months, wondering what the upcoming twelve hold in store. My Grandaddy Williams might have said it was part of "taking stock." Only instead of checking the supply of firewood or coal, the number of hay bales in the loft, bushels of corn and oats in the bin, counting sacks of potatoes and apples, onions, carrots, parsnips, and heads of cabbage in the root cellar, or quart jars of home-canned tomatoes, green beans, peaches and pears, relish, pickles, jam and honey in the pantry, I'm taking stock in a more personal way, of me and my life—past, present, future; considering my hopes and plans and dreams, accomplishments, failures, gains, losses. Where have I been? Where am I going? Where am I at now?
All in all, 2009 was a good year—at times a very good year, with December and getting married, not to mention Christmas, being downright great. Of course my cough (all but gone, thank you) a lingering gift from November, which began as a nasty virus that rolled over me like a runaway bus, was definitely not so great. The rest of November, however, was good, as were the months which preceded.
The only real downer, back in March, was losing Frank—best friend, mentor, and beloved outdoor companion for more than thirty years. I still miss him every day…
And yet, any time you find yourself sitting at the cusp of a new year, how can you feel anything but grateful? After all, you made it one more round! There may have been rough spots—black holes, even—and you might have cried more often than you laughed; or hurt more frequently than those days when you felt comfortable and pain-free. I hope not, but the truth is, some of us suffer and struggle to survive, in all sorts of ways—mentally, physically, financially, spiritually. If you're not one, count yourself blessed.
I'm blessed, for sure. What I have far outweighs what I lack. The balance is tipped well into the positive. If my life ended today, I would have no reason to complain. God has been good to me. Life has been good.
What lies ahead? I don't know. The future is held in time's mystery. I have plans, hopes, dreams. Given time, some might come to fruition. Not all, though…never all, which is a good thing, because it leaves something for the year beyond, if there is one; and if not, well…no matter.
Looking out, I see the river is still slipping merrily along, luminescent water in endless journey that plays out regardless of whether we're here to watch or not—just like life.
I hope with all my heart that 2010 is a good year for you and those you love. I hope you find at least one or two of those dreams you hold in your heart. I hope that life is a joy, filled with wonder, rich with blessings.
HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR!