Good morning and a very happy new year to all. Yes, it is the first Monday of a new year which I suppose implies that this Monday is filled with a newness - a fresh start and new beginning that the last month of Mondays did not possess. I suppose. I'm not convinced that an arbitrary turning of the clock or calendar brings about anything particularly new or fresh. Of course I live in Michigan and January is usually one of the coldest, sunless, miserable months of the year so its just a little difficult for me to get on the "Yeah! It's a new year!" bandwagon. I'm cold. I'm starting the new year like I have started every new year of most of my life; dieting and budgeting. Both activities make me just a bit cranky. This year I am also grieving. Now there's something to get excited about? The scripture comes to mind, "there is nothing new under the sun".
I wish we could start the new year by throwing away the things in our lives we would like to be rid of like we toss away the empty boxes and wrapping paper from Christmas. Wouldn't that be a great way to start the new year? Just scoop up my careless spending and my 20 extra pounds and throw them out with the trash. Now that's something I could get excited about. Clearly, that's not going to happen. The only way I'm going to be rid of such things is with a whole lot of effort on my part. Oh well, enough of this whining and wishing. Mondays in January do this to me. So does grief.
I actually thought last year that I would be able to just make up my mind to be done with this grieving thing and start the new year with no more tears and loneliness; no more longing and sadness. It was, after all, well into my second year of grief and so I figured I had grieved long enough. A good year past the normal, one year of grief that society seems to expect and well past my tolerance level for carrying around such negative emotions with me. Those things get heavy. They really do drag you down. But just like the weight and the budget, grief is not something you can just put out with the trash and be done with. If making up my mind to be done with it was all it took to put this season of grief behind me I would have done that about a month into the process. It just flat out doesnt work that way! Bummer!
So, arent you glad you checked in with me today?! Sorry. I'm not bringing a whole lot of joy and hope to the table. (OK - I've not finished my first cup of coffee yet. Maybe that's the problem. Let me put us on pause and see if a few more gulps of hot caffeine will warm up my mood.)
Jesus said, "I am making all things new". He said, "I have come to heal the brokenhearted and turn their mourning into joy." OK. I believe that is true - even if I dont feel joyful or new this morning. I am in His hands and I am His. For my lonliness, He has promised to never leave me or forsake me. For my sadness and longing, He has promised to meet my every need - even those intangable, emotional ones that nobody sees but me and God. I can't choose to be rid of my grief. I can choose to not let my grief run my life and ruin my day. I can think on the good stuff of my life and the goodness of God. It doesn't make the grief go away but it does seem to make it managable.
So on this first Monday of the new year I will eat my bowl of fruit and put away my ATM card - just like I did on the first Monday of last year. I will do my part. AND I will hold tight to God's hand and hope for sunny days real soon. Ones where the temperature is at least 20 degrees warmer and my body is 20 pounds lighter and my bank account is 20% richer and.... grief is no longer that heavy weight I drag along with me everywhere I go. wait -maybe that's where those 20 pounds came from!
Well... that's all I got. Some days are just like that for me. I'm pretty sure you have days like that too. It's OK. Even when we dont feel all shiny and new God is still here with us and if we let Him He will work in us making us new from the inside out. I'm just going to do my part to cooperate with His work in me and try not to get cranky at His speed- or lack of speed. It will take effort, no doubt about it. Did I mention that it's a Michigan Monday in January?