Saturday, January 01, 2005

"Just another New Years' Eve..."

It's just another New Years' Eve, another night like all the rest
It's just another New Year's Eve, let's make it the best...
It's just another New Year's Eve, it's just another Auld Lang Syne,
But when we're through this New Year, you'll see -
We'll be just fine...
(from the classic by Barry Manilow)
There is artillery going off in the distance - fireworks and shouting and whistles - which indicate that the calendar has flopped over another page.

I had been asleep at 10:30, after crusing around the Hyde Park "Neighbor's Eve" (decent music, but all the food was gone at every site I visited). Still, it was well worth riding around on the trolley to the various spots, and running into various folks around the town. But for some reason, by 10 p.m., I was just done - and so I tried to do the sensible thing, and snuggle down early. But for an equally odd reason, I just snapped awake about 11:57 - just in time for the artillery display - and to consider the end of one day, and the beginning of another.

In working to live "one day at a time," New Year's Eve has become kind of a "so what?" thing. Perhaps it's having lived through my twenties, and passing the midnight mark with the guy determined to be the first person to puke in the New Year. Perhaps it's just being much, much closer to 48 than to 28 (or 18). But being up at the magic minute, and seeing the countdown, just doesn't ring my chimes anymore. I'm glad for the people who are out whooping it up - but it's just not me anymore.

I wasn't going to do a retrospective of the last year - for some reason, it feels good just to be shut of this one (which is the first time I've felt like that in a long time. It has been a year of very unwilling (and badly-executed) transitions, a year of sadness and much mourning. Lives, friends, and dreams were all casualties, caught in the crossfire over the last 12 months.

I wish I could tell you that I allowed God to carry me through, and everything went fine. But in reality, if the last year suddenly became a version of the old poem "Footsteps," my version would look like this:
1) My footsteps, and God's, walking side-by-side
2) God's footsteps by themselves, carrying me (for very brief distances)
3) God's footsteps beside a very deep furrow, dug by my heels as God dragged me along (the majority of the distance)
I also thought about doing "my top 5 blog-posts," as several sisters & brothers in the independent kingdom of Blogaria have done. But doign that felt suspiciously like self-centered navel-gazing. So I'm content to leave my "defining moment" posts on the right sidebar, and if anyone's crazy enough to read 'em all and pick favorites, I'll be happy to tabulate the results!

I've given up on resolutions, too - they usually dissolved somewhere about noon on January 1st or 2nd, anyway - but on the cusp of the New Year, these are my prayers for the days to come:

- to be more intentional about God's direction for my life, long-term, and to get out of "survival mode";
- to seek out things that bring joy and build community, and engage in the ones that are unique to Chicago (I don't want to leave here and find that I never really "lived" here);
- to celebrate my friendships and enduring relationships more frequently than I do;
- Lastly, to live as Bill W. wrote so many years ago in the AA Big Book:
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you - until then.
Happy New Year, my friends.


Poor Mad Peter said...

Those are great prayers, Steve.

Steve Bogner said...

Happy new year to you too - I hope it is a good and prosperous one!

Dave said...

That felt a little depressing. I hope you're doing alright. I have the strangest feeling that 2005 is going to be a good year (I mean from my perspective).
I agree, resolutions are for when you are inspired to make them. Not for a particular calendar day. Oh and dude, Barry Manilow?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Argh!

Captainwow said...

Amen to Bill W. I'll see your footprints in the sand and raise you a butt print or two as well!Happy New Year.