I have experienced sixty eight revolutions around the sun. This week I begin the sixty-ninth. I remember most of the yearlong journeys and what I have learned from them is that change is inevitable and that I should never take anything or anyone for granted.
I have witnessed the birth of inventions that most of us now consider to be commonplace but were once deemed miraculous. I have seen a man walking on the moon and been able to write and publish my thoughts on a daily basis because a computer allows me to type and quickly correct the mistakes that my fingers make. I have a vacuum cleaner that operates without my help and a mechanism that follows my voice commands to turn on lights and play music. The temperature in my home is neither too hot nor too cold with adjustments being made regularly to keep me comfortable. I carry a phone in my purse that allows me to talk with friends who live hundreds of miles away and even see them if I wish. I can order virtually anything from the recliner in my bedroom and it will arrive on my doorstep in only a few days, often without postage being required. I have hundreds of shows, movies and books from which to choose for my entertainment and I need not leave my living room to acquire them. I daily inject a medication that is rebuilding my bones. I have had a surgery performed by a doctor guiding a robot that left only four tiny holes in my body. The marvels that have come into my life abound and I have yet to take any of them for granted because I have witnessed the past when such things were only dreams.
Some who once accompanied me on my twelve month adventures have gone. I still long for them and find myself recalling the wonderful times that we shared. I didn’t always appreciate them as much as I should have. In my youth I felt immortal and did not think that I would be touched by death, not even after my father was taken far too soon. I now realize the importance of expressing feelings of love and appreciation at every opportunity. I understand that we must focus on the beautiful moments as they are playing out in our lives and embrace them fully, for the opportunities to do so may never come again. Life is riddled with uncertainties and even though I know that to be true I am surprised again and again.
I have developed traditions that I follow while I can. At the dawn of each new year I celebrate both the past and the future. I try to approach the coming months with optimism and a sense that I have yet another possibility of improving and focusing on the people and labors that will make a positive difference. I prepare split pea soup for luck. I learned how to do so from my mother-in-law who inherited the recipe from her mother. I have never cared much for black eyed peas, my mother’s preferred lucky charm, but I loved split pea soup from the first time that I tasted it. I go to the Airline Farmer’s Market each December specifically to purchase dried yellow split peas because the green ones are not nearly as tasty. I serve a ham on Christmas Day and use its bone to cook the peas. I place them in a heavy pot along with the bone and an onion, covering the ingredients with water. I cook the concoction slowly, adding more water as the peas become thick. Once they have softened and blended with the water I remove the ham bone and begin adding a bit of milk to make the mixture creamy. After several hours my soups is smooth and has a delicious blend of flavors. I always make it on New Year’s Eve and serve it for lunch on the first day of the year. It seems to have done it’s work in bringing me health, prosperity and happiness for I have had a good life in spite of bumps along the way.
I worry a bit as I grow older, a habit that I inherited from my paternal grandmother that haunts me more than it should. I don’t like losing friends or family members but the numbers of those who have passed before me grows with each year. I find myself wondering who among my circle will be afflicted with difficulties and wish that there were some way that I might forestall their problems. I tell myself that instead of spending fruitless moments in a state of anxiety I should instead reach out to my loved ones to let them know how much I care. I know that it is important to cherish every minute of every day.
I grew healthier last year because I worked at being so. I plan to continue with the improved habits that I developed. I am determined to publish my book no matter how much time and effort it takes to get that done. I want to keep my promises to meet with friends that I have not seen for far too long. I will try to be more relaxed about unimportant matters. I am a perfectionist at heart even though life has taught me that being so is ridiculous. I want to hear nature’s music and find joy in the pleasures that I sometimes ignore because I am so busy doing tasks that matter little. I desire to place more of my trust in the Lord without always asking Him why He does things the way He does. I saw from my late cousin how beautiful great faith can be.
I have come a long way and seen many wonders. I look forward to enjoying as many more as I am allowed, taking the glory of each day as it comes without holding on to hurts or fears. The sun rises and sets, the earth travels around the sun creating the seasons of our lives. In some miraculous way I have been part of sixty eight transitions from one year to the next. I have witnessed history, the best and the worst of the human experience and still I travel on with my fellow man. I have learned that the words of Ecclesiastes are so very wise.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Every day is beautiful, even when we are carrying our human burdens. There is nothing better than to be happy and and to do good while we live. That is my ultimate resolution as I set out on another adventurous year.