2023 – a new year.
Each day is a gift, and we get to start a new year. Thank you, God.
I’ve thankfully been able to avoid some of the typical January, post-holiday blues because of some nice weather – I was able to visit three of my favorite spots after Christmas!
After not being able to get outside much due to a busy holiday season, a lingering cold, and an injury from November, it felt wonderful to sit at “my” little beach on the Bush River with 55 degree weather and the sun shining on my skin warm and bright. It felt so good to walk along the Susquehanna and feel the vibrations of the raging river in my chest, and crunch along an uncovered section of dense clam shells. And on January 1st, as the new year arrived, I had a few minutes to meander along the Little Gunpowder, with the sun dancing on the rushing water, a sparkling welcome to the new year, a thousand times better than confetti (in my humble opinion, at least!).
Later that evening, I enjoyed the sunset on the Bush River – I hadn’t been to my typical spot in over six weeks, a long absence for me.
It was a lovely evening, and as the sun set, I was aware of its vastly different location from many of the autumn nights I visited. Had I visited every night the past six weeks, I may not have noticed, as the imperceptible daily changes took place. But that night, it was a shock and delight.
That night, the sun met the horizon right along a shoreline of trees – adorned in their bare winter clothing, etching their skeletons along the sky. Trees in wintertime are a work of art, illuminated by the setting sun and dance of dusk.
Change. A new year. And the earth will keep rotating a little bit, day by day, until the sun returns back to it’s summer resting place.
What a helpful reminder to start a new year – to see the stark difference in the sunset, and to be reminded to step back and look at my own life in that way.
It’s very easy for me to think about the things that I wish were different in my life (enter, gratitude, if you’d like to read more about how that keeps me afloat!). And I don’t think I’m alone. Yet, each day, things are changing. Because even if my circumstances, aren’t changing, my heart is changing. I can pray, and lean into the Lord, to make those heart-changes for good.
But when I take a longer view, when I see the sunset six weeks later from autumn to the heart of winter, I’m reminded that big changes have occurred. And I’m even beginning to see how the really hard ones, the ones that have left imprints on my body and soul, have brought about beautiful change, too.
As this new year begins, how can you step back and see how small changes, have been building to something good? Or maybe, it’s daily bad habits, that have led to something not so good. We need to see those clearly. I’m working on that too! Perhaps that’s why I’ve had Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero” song playing on loop in my head for the past two weeks – “it’s me, hi, I’m the problem it’s me…”! – send help!)
While we can’t ignore the habits, that need to stop, I think it’s a really important and valuable practice to look back at the good that has developed too.
I realized that the sunset was the first I watched since marking five years since moving back home to Maryland. So as I marveled at the orange sky, with my sweet Hunter exploring the shoreline by my side, I chose to see the absolute gift of being back home – and all that the Lord has done in my heart. It doesn’t erase the pain or heal my PTSD, or fix those “I’m the problem, it’s me” issues….and it is something truly good and beautiful.
I hope you can step back and see the good, too. Or at the very least, trust that the Lord is working out good. Because He is. (Comment or email, if you’d like to discuss more!)
As January rolls along, and the short-lived stint of nice weather rolls into inevitable cold, ice, and (hopefully!) snow, there is one thing we can count on as we are waiting to see where 2023 goes – God’s mercies are new every morning. All of that will add up to an ocean of grace, when the sun sets on another year, and one day when He returns or calls us home.
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23
Prayers and blessings for the new year, friends!