New Year

I feel like I've been standing on one foot for an entire year.  I'm tired.  When I sit to write songs, the only refrain I want to write is, "I'm tired, I'm sooooooo tired".  But standing on one foot for so long is tiresome, and I'm glad, in a way, to plant my feet just about anywhere to ease the pressure.

Goodbye, 2016.  I'm glad to see you go.  Not because you were awful - you weren't entirely awful, truly.  I'm ready to see you go, like I'm ready to see a nice, well-meaning potential new friend move along after twenty minutes of pulled, awkward conversation at the bookstore cafe. "Goodbye, we'll try this again, let's hope it will run more smoothly next time, we'll see."

I don't make resolutions - I mean to, but I never seem to get to it.  Probably around February, I'll make it to the adoration chapel, sit and pray, think a bit through the year behind and the one coming on, and find a few things to focus on.  This move is just like the last one - I've a feeling of frittering away my days, each like the one before, and nothing to show much at the close of any.  I drive a lot.  Sometimes I drive, get somewhere, and don't feel up to the newness of it.  I go back home.  I know how this sounds.  I'm hoping this will even out in the next year, but these things take forever, especially for me.

I know I'm not the only one.  This year is odd in that we are, many of us, feeling a grief that isn't quite our own, the grief of a world broken into pieces and the grief of feeling fumblesome and unable to really help.  The heaviness of wondering if the direction of the world is moving further toward hate.  The dark of this Advent is a waiting, painful, wondering anticipation of coming light.  

Likely you know this already, but the Advent wreath has four candles - one for each week - and three are purple or blue, and one, this Sunday's candle - is pink.  I always thought of Advent as the pink kind of Advent - the pink candle we light tonight for Gaudate Sunday speaks to a joyful anticipation of Christ's coming.  But the other weeks are blue or purple - and this speaks to a different kind of anticipation.  An "even so, come Lord Jesus" kind of anticipation - a darker, sadder tinge to the waiting, a shaking your head and wondering why and how kind of waiting.  Advent is picking through darkness, looking straight at it.  I'm not sure I've ever looked more forward to a new season.  

It gets dark here so early.  When I walk to collect the children from school, the sun is golding and the light is slipping away.  By 4:30, it's dark and I have long hours ahead.  I'm lighting as many candles as I can. 

O hasten, hasten through the dark                                                                                                  under the dim reminding stars                                                                                                                         to find again what is small, tender, beloved                                                                                                   the hope and mercy of this world                                                                                                                   at the mercy of this world                                                                                                                            in the darkest dark, the longest night.



(Wendell Berry)