Last year, my husband and I had grand plans for New Year’s Eve. Don’t get me wrong, we had no intention of leaving the house, but maybe that’s why we thought it was all so grand.
We bought a couple of quality steaks and planned to pop open a bottle of red wine we had picked up in Napa Valley the year before. We would have a warm, quiet, delicious ending to 2016.
When the day came, however, my husband wasn’t feeling very well. His head cold grew worse as the day went on and we ended up scrapping our plans, having some cereal, and going to bed early. We were warm and it was quiet, but the food was definitely not as delicious as we had originally planned.
The next day, the first of 2017, my husband woke up feeling much better. As we slowly made our way out of bed, reminiscing about the culinary goodness that could have been, my husband had the BRILLIANT idea to make our steaks for breakfast. And why not!?
So that morning, on the first day of 2017, we ate filet mignon, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and, yes, we had the Napa red, too. We knew that many of our “perfect plans” would be thwarted in 2017, but that didn’t mean we could not roll with the punches and still remain committed to pursuing goodness.
Such a poignant way to enter the new year, right? I loved how this set the stage for us to begin that clean slated year with a penchant for rolling with what comes and, though our plans may be marred, still pursuing goodness even when things don’t go our way. 2017 was looking bright!
And it was. 2017 was a memorable year. So memorable, in fact, that on New Year’s Eve this year, we set up a crib in what will soon be our baby’s room. Our year was that big. Did our plans maintain a perfect record after that first [steak and potatoes] breakfast of 2017? Absolutely not. But did we remain committed to goodness, even in the face of altered plans? Definitely not.
I tried. I really did. Even still, there were moments I won’t soon forget when I was face down on our living room floor, sobbing at the negative result of yet another pregnancy test. My perfect plans for a baby weren’t coming together and so I embraced grief, fear, and anger—a far cry from holding tight to goodness and “rolling with it.”
I loved entering 2017 with the intention and outlook we had, but I’ve learned not to let the power of one day be lost because of the focus we place on the entire year. In one of my favorite quotes, St. Benedict wrote, “Always we begin again.” Did we live perfectly in 2017? Nope, none of us. But always we begin again. It doesn’t have to be January 1st for any of us to start fresh.
One afternoon, after I spent a considerable amount of time crying on the living room floor, I remember standing up with a different perspective than I had when I fell to my knees in tears. I decided to return to having faith that although my plans for our family were not working out, I would be okay. With or without a child, there was still goodness to be embraced in our lives. I decided to begin again.
This New Year’s Eve, as I walked into that room that now holds a crib in the corner, I couldn’t help but think back on the year we’d had. I remembered the moments when we really did roll with our damaged plans and made the best of it. And, I recalled the moments when we could have done better, remained calmer, and held on to a greater faith. The year wasn’t a failure because we didn’t always live perfectly into the spirit of our New Year’s Day breakfast. There is growth in allowing yourself to begin again.
However this new year is starting off for you—whether you’ve set resolutions or not, and whether you’ve already been keeping them or not—remember that you can begin again. It won’t be the perfect year, but it doesn’t have to be a total wash at the first sign of our own humanness. We can stand up from the living room floor, tear-stained face and all, and we can start afresh. Our lives will unfold in wildly surprising ways and none of us can predict what we’ll be doing on New Year’s Eve of this year, but I do know the road there will be filled with wise embraces of goodness and, thank the Lord, gracious invitations to begin again and again.
Happy 2018, my friends. Cheers to new beginnings!