Colleton River Plantation; Bluffton SC
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.” - Neal Gaiman
New Year’s Eve. We are all set to celebrate another rotation of the Earth around the Sun. Way back when, someone decided that the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere determined the beginning of a “year” – and this was 2,058 years ago - long before they even realized that the Earth circles the Sun, let alone that the Earth is round. The day was actually chosen in order to deify Julius Caesar 4 years after he was killed. But the calculations of a year were not precise, so the shortest day has drifted a bit earlier – December 21st this year. Obviously unaware that the choosing of January 1st as the hypothetical first day of the year was originally intended to make Caesar a God, the Roman Catholic Church kept the date through several calendar revisions, although they re-set the year count to approximate the year they thought Jesus was born.
And so on this day that history has made so much of men being Gods or Gods being men, it begs the question, who or what has been our God this last trip around the Sun? And who or what God’s will we serve this coming trip around the Sun – the hypothetical unit of time we will call 2014? What is a God anyway, and who cares if I have one or not?
For me, God is whatever is driving my thoughts and actions at this particular moment. Is my day today going to be mostly taken up with the details of obtaining and consuming alcohol? If so, today alcohol is my God. Are my thoughts and actions today going to be shaped by anger at someone who I think slighted me yesterday? Then today, I am choosing to make my “enemy” my God. Today, am I going to be stressing about how I am going to acquire the money to pay this month’s mortgage? Then today, the house I live in is my God. Am I going to worry about an errant child, an unreliable love interest, a mechanical problem with my vehicle, issues with my work, a favorite sports team, a favorite television drama, the national political climate, the international political climate – whatever it is that I allow to drive my thoughts and my actions today is what I am serving today as my God. Through this lens, I can look back at my life and see it has been a pretty shallow existence indeed.
But again today, I have a choice. Am I going to try to attune myself to that small still voice within me that seeks to guide me on this journey? Am I going to choose to see that at their core my fellows come from the same source that I did and treat them accordingly? Am I going to realize today that this cold blue rock that we are floating around the Sun on is the only home we have, and treat it accordingly?
Perhaps today I can stop and realize that planning out my actions for this next trip around the sun isn't going to work out any better than all the plans I have made before. Maybe I can realize that the only time I can ever do, say or be anything is right now – this moment. Maybe I can realize that what I am doing right now is most likely what I am going to spend this next year doing. Maybe today I can just be right where I am, fully available for the God of my understanding to work with and through me to accomplish whatever it is I am supposed to be doing right now. And maybe I can realize that my life and my legacy are being defined right here and right now – by what God I am serving this moment.
Today, may I be present.
Happy New Year all!!