I did something tonight that I never remember doing before. Strange, really. Earlier today, plans of New Year's Eve dancing and jamming and big parties were falling apart before my very eyes. I started searching and making calls (which for me means a lot of text messaging because I rarely actually use my phone for talking : ). The result was meeting new friends down the street for great conversation, less than an hour at a party, and then off to meet my dear roomies and friends for a New Year's Service at a local church. It was simply greatness. Songs of new and old swirled around the candles, scriptures filled with hope and newness danced around the room......and then there was Midnight. As we stood and held hands and recited the Lord's Prayer together - there was a peace there. There is something about that second - isn't it? That second where an old year ends and a new year begins? 5.....4.....3....2.....And then there is midnight - and then there is the new year - and then there is celebration. But tonight - there was no celebration. Not really. There just......was......A new year. Quietly. Calmly. Confetti-free. Noiseless. Lovely. It was a beautiful way to celebrated it, and one, strangely, I have never done in such a way.
Each year I take some time - usually a day or two - just to reflect on what the past year has taught me, what God wished to teach me that maybe I didn't learn so well, and what changes need to happen in the new year. Ironically - in the past few weeks there is a song that has played at the end of almost every Hot Yoga session I have had (Yes, I am addicted...). It's Tracy Chapman's "Change." (Post of the song and lyrics to come). The words of the song seem to have prepared me for today.
Each year I make goals. Resolutions, if you will - about changes that need to be made in my life. Most of those are the same year after year. Be On Time More. Start your One Year Bible and read it every day. Eat Healthier. Spend more time with your family. Read two books a month. Etc. Etc. Etc. Did you know that 7 out of the top 10 resolutions have to do with changing our bodies, our budgets, or our bad habits. Seventy Percent. So I started thinking.......what if we have it all wrong? And there-in lies my revelation:
What if it isn't about what we DO or don't DO? What if it more about who we need to BE? What if our resolution was more about BEING different than DOING different? Which leads me to this song. Or maybe this song led me to the revelation. If I started changing the way I thought, how I saw the world, altered my perspective a bit - wouldn't the rest come so much more naturally? It is amusing to me when we stop living for ourselves (to please ourselves, grow our wealth, build our egos, become skinnier, stronger, to strive....just striving and striving) and we get OUT of ourselves long enough to begin living for something BIGGER than ourselves.....we suddenly FIND ourselves. Searching for how we are to love more out of His heart than how to prove who we are - and somehow we begin to feel more fulfilled. Why? It's not about us anymore. Somehow we begin looking past our own reflection in the mirror and into the eyes of a Savior.....mirroring the eyes of His children......and it becomes less about what changes we need to make in what we DO and we start to see the changes we need to make in WHO WE ARE. Soulfully. Spiritually, Deeply. Who we really ARE.
So - back to the song......It made me re-recognize this. Life isn't about life at all. Life is about Living. Oh, how we confuse the two. It is about finding life through intimacy. Intimacy with God, Family, Friends, and Ourselves. It is about Forgiveness. Authenticity. Learning to be Real. Learning to trust someone safe with our darkest secrets - because our secrets kill our spirits. It's about Learning to Love and Be Loved. Learning to Trust. Learning to Share. Learning to Kill our Pride and replace it with Humility. Learning to Serve. Learning to Give. Learning to Receive. Learning from Living. Learning. It is about putting our time and energy into those things we cannot see, hear, or taste. It is about all things eternal. It is about taking calculated chances because we will not pass this way again, and we don't want to wake up in a wheelchair in a nursing home being immersed in regrets. It is about taking the time to sit in the floor with your kids and play with them. It is about dancing when everyone is looking and not caring. It is about telling them how you feel now because you may not get another now. It is about doing whatever it takes to find reconciliation with God, because without that....we are really dead. If you knew....if you KNEW that this would be your last year....if you KNEW that you had one more year of living....12 months. Would you change? Would you stop working so much? Would you value things differently? Would you change where you spend your time? Would you swallow your pride to reach out and get the help you needed? Would you make that phone call? Would you write that letter? Would you somehow find the strength to truly let go of what you have been fretting about, bitter about, depressed about? Would you change? And if you wanted to change, but didn't know how.....would you do what it took to find out?
Because....eventually....maybe tonight....maybe tomorrow night....maybe in 6 months or 6 years.
There will be Midnight.
And it will end. And forever will begin. And we will, at that moment, have a different kind of revelation. A revelation of how tiny this life is compared to forever. A forever that we cannot really comprehend. A forever that is REALLY what it's all about.