I have always found New Year's to be disorienting. It is probably the greatest reminder for me that time is a social construct and only has the meaning we attribute to it. My own sense of time revolves around the academic calendar, with the year beginning in the fall. January 1 seems like starting something new in the middle of starting something else.
Some years ago I came across this bit from advice columnist Ellen Goodman, who wrote, “We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
I've always thought of this in terms of growing edges, or areas of possible improvement, but if the last few years of pandemic life have made crystal clear, we might also be open to the potential for joy, curiosity, reverence, awe, wonder, happiness, and more.
The spiritual theme for January is "Finding Our Center," which we will be exploring in more depth together in worship on January 8, and which I've been reflecting on. It strikes me that this idea of center emerges even here, as I noted above feeling like January 1 is the middle of the year.
I am often a visual thinker, and when I reflect on "Finding Our Center," the image of a fulcrum and lever appear in my mind -- one element propped over another with two sides that seek to be moved or to achieve some kind of balance, like a seesaw. That idea of balance is one part of our center that, as with a seesaw, isn't necessarily perfectly sustainable, but to be discovered again and again in the striving.
I look forward to exploring this theme with you this month, and to connecting with you again soon!
In faith and service, Rev. Kristina Spaude (She/her)
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