Tilly sat quietly, staring out the train window, as she drew closer to London.  Not being very good at gossip or chitchat she hoped no one spoke to her. Soon, Mrs. Ingram, the lady in the seat across from her started a conversation when she asked, “So, is this an ending or a beginning?”  Tilly didn’t fully understand the question but  it did start her thinking.  “Am I running away or running toward something.”*

When I read this paraphrased passage in the book, I asked myself the question, ” Do I think of the New Year as a blessed ending or a shiny new beginning?   2016 has been a year of health issues.  I’m optimistic that the initial diagnosis and disruption to my life will now settle into a predictable routine.  My brother-in-law and sister have been living with his kidney disease for three years.  The New Year will bring him a transplant, a new set of meds to deal with and the freedom from dialysis.  My daughter and her husband are expecting there first child in February. As I pray for her safe and healthy birth I can already envision the joy and pleasure this new person will bring to our family.

I have witnessed decades of New Years days  full of hope and resolve.  I have several that follow me into each new year: 1-  I will worry and pray for family and friends. 2- My love/hate relationship with food and exercise will continue. 3- Reading and writing will take up time and bring me pleasure daily.  4-My financial quandary will still be, “To spend or not spend?”  They are like old friends.  We struggle in our relationship and make progress every year.

Recently  I asked a friend if she had made any New Years Resolutions?  “Yes” she replied, “to accept myself just as I am.”  I was impressed.  Self-acceptance is difficult for me.  It believe that total acceptance would be settling, not trying to do better.  There is a saying I have heard that is applicable here.  “God loves you just the way you are, but He cares too much to leave you there.  That’s my resolution.  To accept myself just the way I am today with love and kindness, while I admit my shortcomings and putting effort into changes that improve how I live the one life I have.

Here’s to 2016, a year of endings and beginnings that arise from hope and love.

*”A Memory of Violets” by Hazel Gaynor


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