One week has passed since my new year began. Please, God. Please don't let it fade...
I've never experienced the symbolism of New Year's before. You know, the new beginning, new resolutions, new life, a new leaf. Whatever you want to call it, it's never meant much more to me than an excuse for a party, champagne, and a kiss at midnight.
But this year was different. I felt the symbolism. I craved it.
And January 1, 2006 was one of the best days of my life.
Nope. Not engaged. Not pregnant. Didn't win the lottery. Didn't get a raise. Didn't even have a date the night before. But New Year's day was the best day of my life.
I suppose the new day began at 12:01 in my house where everyone had received a handful of confetti and a glass of champagne. 3...2...1 Happy New Year's! The white confetti went skybound and the house for a brief second was a winter wonderland with snow covering us all. People hugged and kissed and screamed and threw more confetti, all with smiles on their faces. The evening didn't stop there of course, for friends are not easily separated at such happy times, and I retired to bed at 3:30 leaving them to their cigarettes, vodka and early morning discussion on the front porch.
When I awoke a few hours later, I was off to FBC. Early. Too early (this was the only downer to the day). But in an attempt to relieve Roger from writing a sermon and coming home early from a hunting trip with his son, I wrote a short vignette for the pastors to read in lieu of a sermon at church. Of course, not everyone liked the short piece which functioned as a sort of reader's theatre work, but after some tweaking and editing, everyone was pleased and we showed up early to practice.
Now, as every smart young minister may have done, I had cancelled my Young Adults Sunday School for New Year's Day for obvious reasons. Even if everyone was back in town for the holidays, no one was going to make it in at 9:30 the morning after New Year's to study Ecclesiastes. I'm not stupid. So when the ministers agreed that 8:30 am was the only time to practice, I had to roll my eyes. Leave it to me to plan ahead, give myself an extra two hours of sleep, and then have to go to work an hour early with nothing to do. But, I sucked it up, put on sweats, grabbed my outfit and a yogurt and headed to church. After rehearsal, I napped in Roger's office, then dressed and headed to worship.
The service was nice. Refreshing. One of my college students joined the church. And the reader's theatre piece seemed to go over well.
For lunch I returned home and helped Mel clean up our apartment. We wiped countertops, washed dishes, vacuumed the floor and even the tile in an attempt to get up the confetti (i confess, it still remains).
Then it was time for a nap with a young kitten snuggled underneith my chin. Amy and Emily gave me a small, black and white kitten for Christmas with a motor that runs a mile a minute. His tiny body sought warmth from mine and when he found it, he purred us both to sleep.
A few hours later, I awoke and headed back to church for Mosaic. I had been asked to do the communion "speech" for lack of a better word, and needed to show up early to set up for the unique service.
At the door, everyone was given a program for the funeral of 2005. On the communion table lay a casket (a wooden trough painted black) full of dirt. The chairs we sat in couched dead leaves. After a song, eulogy and testimonies about 2005, we wrote on the leaves all we were leaving behind in 2005 and put them in the casket. I scribbled furiously the names, deaths and bad habits I hoped to bury with the year and crushed my leaves deep into the dirt. Good-bye 2005. Never had a funeral felt so good.
We then processed with the pall bearers carrying the casket in front, all the way down four floors and outside to the courtyard. As we left the Mosaic room, we began singing "soon ah will be done wid the troubles of da world" and our tune rang throughout the building.
Once outside, we received a new program for the christening of 2006. We sang joyous songs welcoming 2006 into the world and played banged along on the instuments we were given at the door. A large screen showed a jumble of fast moving colors that entertained the children and set the tone for the new year. The casket was painted white and after we took communion, we planted seeds that we'd also been given at the door into the dirt, fertilized with our dead leaves of 2005, but ready to birth the new life of 2006.
Afterwards, I ate dinner at Taco C with Mosaic folk and then headed to the movies with some students from FBC to see the long awaited Narnia.
I was nervous. I hoped the producers didn't screw up this amazing film. Then as my eyes welled up with tears as Aslan the lion died, I hoped my brain wouldn't let Radley's death shadow this film. But as quickly as they entered my eyes, the left and I breathed a sigh of relief. I can do this. I can handle this new year. It will be good. And even if it has horrible things in store, I am ready. Humble and quiet, but bold and ready.
As I left the theatre and drove home, I smiled at the day. I love my life. I love my two churches. I love my friends. I love my God. I love art. And I love new beginnings.
May each day be one...