The Eve – it feels climatic and important.
It brings to mind recent moments like, Christmas Eve and now New Year’s Eve. There is something fantastical about these moments. There is a reason for anticipation, a holding of the breath before exhaling in joy and excitement for the day to come.
There is a rush towards and exclamation about what is to come; and yet, I have found more often now as an adult, what has come is so brief it is easily lost in the hubbub if it is realized at all.
I would not classify myself as a nostalgic – it is sadly lost on me. As such, it takes a great deal of effort to intentionally see and feel the effects of the moment. Almost needless to say, I find the in-between of Christmas and New Year’s, and especially New Year’s Day, to be an awkward space to fill.
To this end, resolutions are not a practice in which I have grown up participating.
It took some time to realize that the world has built up anticipation towards events, I think to some degree, to have something to celebrate – especially in the cold winter months. We need to celebrate. We need to be with people and be reminded that there is good in the world and we can be a part of it.
Sitting around a table with people who feel like something between friends and family, we talked about any resolutions we may have for 2018. I was surprised to hear more vague responses and some outright No’s than I would have thought.
Coming around to me I reached for an answer. A couple of years ago, over the first week of January, when there was a busy rush and demand for my time, I remember escaping for lunch, something I found helpful during these types of times. It was especially meaningful because it was also my birthday.
Over this lunch break, I began to write about the new year in my life. It’s kind of nice having an extra couple of days to get through the New Year’s hype and, since I’m usually always a little late to the game anyway, it seemed fitting to spend some time thinking about this a few days down the road from the normal celebratory crowd.
What I ended with was a titled list. It was the age I was turning, the year that was beginning, and then several areas I would like to see grow and change in specific and less specific ways.
It’s not rocket science. It’s not complicated. It’s not an in-depth look into my soul and habits. It’s just a list. And somehow, that felt like enough.
I had some time during the Christmas holiday last week and decided to ponder some ideas for my list for this coming year. I thought I would just pencil some things in while I was thinking about it and come back to it in January. But what I left on the page was the list. A new list.
As I reviewed my previous lists, I got to check off more and more things. I got to see those hopes and dreams, and many were just that, as well as the practical components become reality. Everything from paying off my credit card, paying off my car, paying off medical bills, reading 12 then 24 books in a year, traveling in and out of the state, having my own apartment and cat, and an overall theme for the year.
My new list, in some respects, is a continuation of the previous lists. There are things that roll over and become more defined with each year. But then, there are new things as well. And, for whatever reason, through seeing the last several lists have more checks than not next to the items, I began to add bigger dreams to my list for this year.
The scary part about putting this in writing, ink more so than pencil for me, is that there are some things still not checked and that will not be checked off. There is this air of disappointment that can feel as muggy as the Savannah humidity on a summer day – it clings to me and makes me feel as if there is nothing I can do to make it go away.
What if my list does not get checked off? Surely this would be an indication of my lack of ability and self-control. Surely this would be evidence of my failure throughout a whole year. A year wasted.
As we step into another Eve in anticipation of another new coming, I am also reminded of a different kind of Eve.
Eve was the first woman created by God to be a compliment to Adam, God’s first created man. Eve was the last of God’s initial creation, yet she was before all things to come. And what followed was not only a commissioning by God of a invaluable role to be a help – a role we see God himself fill, thus, explaining his design by his own character – but a story that set into motion our own stories of failure, brokenness, neediness, redemption and restoration.
How much easier I find it to make a list of big dreams if that list is not a definition of what I do, but what I see God accomplishing. How much better I find it to realize that my new year is not about me and what gets done. Rather, it is a continuation of this same story – I will fail, I will be broken and needy, I have been rescued – redeemed, and God is restoring his glory in my life to the proper place.
I don’t have a clear vision of what this year will look like – I’m not good at that kind of dreaming. But I do know a fraction of who God is and how I have seen him work in my life, and I am trusting that he will continue to do so.
So cheers to the New Year’s Eve and the Eve before all things reminding me, once again, this life is not about me and that is worth celebrating.