If you’re on a New Year high, victory dancing your way through January with the Rocky theme song playing in the background, high-fiving your co-workers as you check off New Year’s resolutions left and right, and trying to hide the corner of your Superman cape under your street clothes, this post is not for you. Stop reading now.
I do think there are people who fit the above description. And right now, in gloomy Minnesota where there is still only gray and soot and no snow, I really envy you. But I also think that for many people there is a trajectory up and to the right from October through January 1st, and then…It gets ugly.
It goes like this:
September – “bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils”, the smell of woodsmoke and new text books
October – Autumnal pumpkinny delight, a cornicopia of color, cute kids in cowboy costumes and caramel corn (for Pete’s sake!)
November – Over the river and through the woods Americana… Family football, Thanksgiving, and turkey sandwiches
December – Anticipation and Celebration. Twinkle lights and Jesus. Need I say more?
January 1st – Parties, broom ball, resolutions and new beginnings
But then like Wile E. Coyote, being chased by Road Runner, we scamper lickety split straight off the cliff into thin air. We hang there, the first week of January, look over our shoulder to the firm ground of December, and proceed to plummet into the abyss that is 2012.
Reality sets in. You realize you actually have to DO something if you want to accomplish the resolutions you optimistically committed to and there’s an interminable winter ahead where a 3 hour football game at the end of the month is about the only mildly bright spot til…well, til Mother’s Day if you live in Minnesota. It’s all you can do to limp along.
All that to say I’ve been a cranky pants and I’ve been trying figure out what spiritual practices might help me be more Jesusy in January (and the following 3 months if I’m honest). I have a couple ideas but I’d be delighted to hear yours too.
My first idea is to switch the order of holidays. October, November and December are hogging all the best holidays and what is January left with? MLK’s birthday?? I say we move Thanksgiving to January.
Not exactly. But kind of. I remember hearing about a couple who was having marriage trouble and went to a counselor. He told them to go home and all he wanted them to do was affirm 10 things about the other every day for a month. Then come back.
“Thank you for ….” “I like the way you…”
The couple did it, came back and had fallen in love all over again. Problem solved. (Oh that all marital issues were that easy, eh?)
When I was teaching school we called that “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Tell a kid enough times that he’s responsible and he’ll rise to your expectations and be responsible.
So here’s my thinking… January and I have not been on speaking terms exactly, and I’m thinking, what if I (and you, if you want) tried the practice of gratitude. Infusing our day with as many shout outs of “Thank you!” and “Way to go!” and “Yea God!” as possible. Has to be genuine, but you know my love of competition so I’m gonna make it a game to see if I can make January seem like November – a month of Thanksgiving.
Today I’m thankful for Katy and Maggie who always make me laugh, a body healthy enough to run this morning, my daily mocha from barista Corey, a husband who’s my favorite person in the world, and new friends coming for dinner. What are you thankful for?