Posting the 2014 replacement calendar, I smile at its white spaces. Although some appointments are already noted, the pages look snowy clean by comparison. Pen tracks will gradually personalize these pristine pages too. Who know what events, emergencies, and milestones will fill these squares.
Standing at the gate of the New Year is not a new idea by any means, but still it's worth considering. Janus, the mythological Roman god, was considered the Gatekeeper of the New Year. If I needed a gatekeeper, I wouldn't choose a Roman mythological being. I do however like the image of Janus looking back over what has happened and looking ahead to anticipate what might come. Like Janus, I too glance back at the bumpy and diverse roads I've traveled and I do wonder about the future.
|Grandsons Caleb and Logan pose for a "Janus" photo.|
Photo by Jenny Bayes
Today we are encouraged to live in the present, so much so that it seems we are discouraged from giving serious consideration to the past or the future. Take that memoir writers and goal setters!
This strong living-in-the-present philosophy may have stemmed from Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher from before the time of Christ, who said, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
I agree that if we let ourselves get stuck in the past or dwell too much on the future, this may not be mentally healthy. I have heard present-day psychologists explain in simple terms that worrying about the past causes depression and worrying about the future causes anxiety. It isn’t thinking about the past or the future that would cause us harm; rather it is worrying about the past or the future, neither of which we can do anything about, that would cause us harm.
In Matthew 6: 34, Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Following Christ’s teaching, I feel no guilt about looking behind me to see where I’ve been, nor looking ahead to set goals for growth and improvement in the year ahead.
I see value in looking backward and forward from the moment I am experiencing. I am thankful for the blessings of the past, for lessons learned, and for the people who’ve helped me to become the person I am.
From a faith perspective, our errors, oversights, or sins of the past can be forgiven. Christ died for that purpose, and I am thankful the old calendar of my life has been wiped clean. Isn’t that something to write about? Like Moses, I have stories to record and share. My lessons learned may be of benefit to others.
As for the New Year ahead, I have hope. No, I don’t know the future, but I know the One who does. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God gave us the message, “’For I know the plans I have for you. . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Prayer: Lord, I trust you to be the Gatekeeper to my past, present, and future. May I ever trust in You, who are my Shepherd and my Gatekeeper.