True New

When I was a little kid, my birthday marked my new calendar year. The difference of that one day gave me permission to be someone entirely new. I'd blow out the cake candles and imagine that my previous year evaporated like the smoke dissipating.

"That was when I was EIGHT. Now I'm NINE. I'm different."

All of my embarrassments and failures from the previous 12 months where sent away -- assigned to my scape goat, the other 'younger me.' Dissociative behavior? Perhaps. But, that new year tabula rossa worked for me for a long time. Sadly, somewhere along the road, I discovered that my former self did indeed travel with me. Turns out, Younger Me could move across birthday and new year boundaries.

Her memories,


and habits

came with me.

Today, I sent the Serenity Prayer to a friend of mine. She's engaging in a new start and rebooting a part of her life. A while ago, she started walking out of the habits of birthdays-gone-by, into new birth. She's starting a new year in her life. But it's not going according to a scheduled timeline. Issues of addiction, recovery and healing don't really pay attention to the calendar year. Life transformation is rather unruly that way. Personal reformation can't be given a tidy 12:01am deadline because the kind of truth that sets us free is sometimes hard to absorb in one sitting.

It's as impossible to decide on a due-date for inner transformation as it is to wish away the past.

Neither are in our control.

As the candles on my birthday cakes become increasingly more difficult to blow out, my soul is gaining a certain acceptance. Younger Me needs to be allowed to travel into new years with Older Me, because we are one in the same. I am becoming comfortable with allowing my past to ride next to the present because history can't be divorced from the future. Often, one brings healing to the other. I no longer wish it all away like smoke from a birthday candle.

I am no longer my own scape goat.

A different one showed up as a gift.

Take it or leave it, but I do deeply believe the Truth that sets me free comes from one source in the past. That Source resides outside of time, but entered it, for a short while about 2000 years ago. Our current calendar restarted after his birthday -- roughly around the point that B.C. became A.D. It was the first Christmas; the arrival of humanity's final answer. For me, that's the only important new year because it's the year cosmic hope came and altered the world with the possibility of redemption.

Obviously I'm getting preachy about Jesus. And maybe it's sacrilegious to go ahead and compare him to a gigantic ball falling in Times Square. But I do see the similarity. When the New York City crowd finishes yelling " ... three.... two... one ....Happy New Year!!!" we sing Auld Lang Syne and kiss strangers because something inside us desperately wants to believe we've been given a re-start, a reboot.

New Year's Eve is annual permission to pretend

we are in control of recreating ourselves,

for ourselves,

by ourselves.

But, really?

The most global cntrl/alt/delete option happened back when a tiny time ball silently crashed down into the world and life shifted from B.C. to A.D. With that shift a redeemed past, new creation, became possible. It was the original re-start; the genesis of my hope for healing, forgiveness, recovery, and the ability to learn a new dance in this world. For me, the crux of living a new year is about a supernaturally altered state of being, not human resolutions and the turn of a calendar page.

So, this week I'll be celebrating the New Year because it points back to one remarkable birthday and the life-changing gift that came with it. I'm celebrating my altered state -- past, present, and future -- and hoping the same for you.

Happy New Year, Friends.


God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr


Kelly said...

I am continually left feeling as though my life is bettered after reading your posts. Thank you.

Kleigh (clAy) said...

Thanks so much for continuing to stop by, Kelly.
Happy New Year to you and the family!