It’s New Year’s Day! Happy new year! It’s the beginning of the new year because we say it is so. It wasn’t always the first of January. The new year used to begin in April. And of course, it’s not the new year in every culture. But in the generally-accepted world-wide calendar, this is the new year.
In new years we look for new beginnings. We size up what has been and we look toward the future. If 2013 was not a good year (it certainly wasn’t the best year ever for me), we look to 2014 with hope. Surely, this will be a good year. Surely, we will find the land of milk and honey.
Well, the land of milk and honey is grand. As long as you’re not allergic to milk or bees.
Twenty-year-old and I spent part of the evening last night at a friend’s house at a laid-back New Year’s Eve get-together. Fun times. This friend has a long list of food allergies, including dairy, so there was almond-milk ice cream. Not too bad. Definitely had the taste of almond milk, which isn’t bad, just different.
Sometimes the milk and honey isn’t what we’re expecting.
Also, milk and honey don’t just appear. I mean, someone has to milk the cows (or the goats or the sheep – but you get the idea). Milk doesn’t just appear in cartons or jugs when we want it. Someone has to collect the honey. And protect the bees. These days that’s becoming a real thing, too. Bees are in danger. Most of us have never done any of this work. And it is work.
What I’m saying is that the good stuff isn’t just handed to us. Not by God. Not by other people who do the work while we just sit back and collect it. There is always work involved. We used to have these 15 quotations on the refrigerator – and among them was this gem from Will Rogers: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
There’s a lot I have to do this year – this month, even. I’m hoping for a better year than last year. Still, that won’t happen if I don’t get on what I have to do. Well, to a point. I mean, I pray that I’m done with the really crappy stuff. But as for the good stuff, the milk-and-honey stuff, that’s not going to happen if I don’t write my CPE (clinical pastoral education – for my chaplaincy residency) applications, and finish my MFC (ministerial fellowship committee) packet (so that I can go see the MFC at my appointed time and, I hope, get fellowship and then ask my congregation to ordain me), and study for the MFC, and all that.
Of course, it’s not all me by myself. There are things we have to do for ourselves, but we are a communal species. We don’t really function all alone. That milk and honey – I don’t provide it. I’m grateful for it, even when it’s something unexpected, like almond-milk ice cream.
Blessings on your 2014. May the milk and honey flow. May you count your blessings, and may you be a blessing to those around you.
That’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.