Thursday, January 01, 2015

At the Gate of the Year - Eleanor Shepherd

Here we are at the beginning of another year. Usually I have anticipated all that means – new opportunities, starting afresh. Somehow this year, I sense a reluctance to enter it. I am not ready to let go of the old one. It seems like I am not quite finished with it. There were projects that I started but have not finished. My fear is that entering the New Year, I will become distracted by new projects and the old ones will never get finished. Is it my age or I am just feeling information overload? Time is a strange phenomenon. Just yesterday, a work colleague and I were reflecting about how it hardly seems possible that we are already entering the half way mark of the second decade of this millennium. 2015. Strangely enough, as I was writing the date on a form a few days ago, I stopped myself as I was about to mark 19… I have been writing 20... now, for fourteen years. Why would I revert to the numbers from the last century? Is it an indication of my reluctance to move on? My colleague and I recalled that as children the days seemed to crawl by terribly slowly as we were waiting for events to happen. Christmas and birthdays seems to take such a long time to arrive. As we have aged and matured, events succeed each other much more quickly, perhaps because we have more control of the activities in which we are engaged. These days, it is not only the days and the months, but the years themselves that seem to fly past. One day it is January. Then you turn around and it is June. You have barely adjusted to the warm weather and the leaves begin to fall. Then once again it is Christmas and another year has passed. With increasing tempo the years whiz by.
Meditating about the passing of time, a phrase from the Bible comes to my mind. Psalm 90:12 says, ‘’Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’’ I have often wondered what it means to number our days. I don’t think that it means to mark them off on a calendar. Perhaps it means to savour them. That is something I would like to learn to do. It may be that I will find the balance that I need between holding on to the past and anticipating the future by learning to savour the present. If I can learn to appreciate who I am and where I am and those who are with me right now, I will discover a treasure that will allow me to relinquish the past, because of have something of value to hold on to. I will be ready to move into the future, confident that it too will hold treasures for me, when I take time to open my eyes and appreciate them. I will resolve today to live 2015 one day at a time, making the most of that day, whether what it brings to me ignites joy or sorrow. We can face each day aware that we do not enter into 2015 alone. I have always loved the words quoted by King George VI in his Christmas message in 1939. Although I was not yet born, my father often quoted the words to me when I was a little girl,
Although I was not yet born, my father often quoted the words to me when I was a little girl, "And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: "Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!" And he replied: "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way." (Minnie Louise Haskins 1876 – 1957)

4 comments:

Peter Black said...

Eleanor, thank you for sharing these thoughtful reflections. A New Year is a great time for reflection, isn't it? (Not to forget the aspect of anticipation, of course.)
From my youth, I too, have received inspiration from King George VI's quotation. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

"And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: "Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!" And he replied: "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way." (Minnie Louise Haskins 1876 – 1957)
My Dad has this posted in his living area! I love it. So encouraging. I totally hear you about how quickly time passes these days. I find that if I focus more on what joy I found in a day rather than what I crossed off my list, I feel more satisfied! Thanks for this thought provoking post, Eleanor!

Belinda Burston said...

I too, love that quote and apply it! I also loved the post. "Numbering my days " to me means being aware that there is a limit on the number of them. That has the effect of focusing me more keenly on the brevity of my earthly lifespan!

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thank you for your comments Peter, Glynis and Belinda. You are a great encouragement to me.

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