“The sun is peeking through the misty rain as its light brightens the Ukiah valley for the first time on the first day of the new year.”
I wrote these words as I was sorting through belongings Michael and I had accumulated for over two decades. We were preparing to move fifty miles south. The following is more of what I wrote at that time, and it is just as relevant now as it was three years ago when I wrote it.
“I’m curious about this new year and feel compelled to do some retrospection of the year past and contemplation of the year to come. I know this is a good idea, but I’m procrastinating.
“Although there are many more important things calling to me, I distract myself with seemingly meaningless tasks including rooting in one of my closets for a brass ring in order to repair a purse. (Note the symbolism of looking for a brass ring.) I pull out a purse I haven’t used in years, but no brass rings are attached to it. I’m compelled to see if anything is in the purse as I consider that it’s in good enough shape to take to a consignment shop. It’s mostly empty but for a little coin-shaped, pewter angel, an old brush, a compact, and a few old notes. One note is on a bright orange 3 x 5 index card that is wrapped in transparent tape. This is a poor man’s kind of lamination used to protect and preserve it. I sometimes save notes to myself this way.
“Holding the angel in one hand and the card in the other, I begin to read. It’s a series of questions taken from a book I was reading at the time: The Last Word and the Word After That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity by Brian D. McLaren.
“I’m amazed to find these questions popping up in a remote place in the bottom of a little used closet on this, the first day of the new year.
How is your soul?
How have you seen spirit at work in and through your life this year?
What are you struggling with?
Have you seen spirit at work in and through your life since we last met?
What are you grateful for?
What spirit-given dream are you nurturing?”
When I read these questions on that day of packing up, my overwhelming answer was to be grateful that spirit was giving me a helping hand on that first day of a new year.
As we enter this time together, I wish for each of you a new year filled with soulful questions, spiritual wonder, and great joy.
Justine Willis Toms