Rev. Kate Pearson shares a Thought for the Day for the New Year.
The industry behind new year, new starts is huge. In the world of education, such is the nostalgia for new years and new terms, that you can now buy a candle scented to remind you of pencil shavings.
One of the reasons I love working in a University is that we get two bites of the new year cherry; both the start of the new academic year and the point we’re at now, the more widely celebrated start of a new calendar year. If you’re comfortable to add religion in, Christianity also gives us Lent and Easter, as well as the start of the Church’s year in Advent and other faiths and cultures have their own rituals for marking time and seasons too. If we wanted to, we could punctuate our year with many, regular, liminal moments to reinvent and relaunch ourselves.
The problem with all these new starts though is that we still have to take our old me’s into them. No matter how brilliantly organised my bullet journal; no matter my commitment to eating, sleeping and exercising well; no matter how heart felt my desire to spend an hour a day in silent, prayerful, meditation, I keep hitting upon the same old problem. Myself.
And this year I have not only the same old me to contend with…this new year has not brought us the shiny new start for which we had hoped. We’ve brought with us the same problems and restrictions into 2021. There is plenty to be grateful for of course and hope for some form of normality is on the horizon. We remain though, the same people in much the same situation as last year.
I’m minded to remind us all that ‘this too shall pass’ but new stationary and excellent ancient wisdom is not going to fix this alone. So my task for you today is, rather than look to your flaws and what needs to change this new year, spend some instead time noticing what you’re good at, what you enjoy, what you like about yourself and to do more of that. This is much harder and it might take a long walk to come up with or, if you’re really stuck, asking someone who loves you what they see in you that they like. My favourite Psalm, 139, tells me that God has searched me and knows me and that I am loved because of who I am, not despite it. So today, at the start of this new year, working with, rather than against the grain, may hold deep wisdom for us. May you know who you are today and always, and may that knowledge be a blessing to you and those around you.