Who Knows What a Year May Bring
Everyone has their New Year’s Eve traditions. I don’t go in for resolutions, but as I sit here at our farmhouse table, calendars spread out before me, I feel curiously hesitant. Even cautious. Next year looks so pristine, so exhilaratingly empty. Who knows what a year may bring?
I remember last New Year’s Eve. When the house was quiet, I nestled into the big overstuffed green sofa to plan and pray. Mostly, if I am being honest, plan. And I will be honest.
Surrounding me were my kitchen wall calendar, daily planner, and spiral bound card organizer with a page and pocket for each month’s birthday cards. I began filling in all the important dates. Dozens of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, school inservice and vacation days, paydays, grocery shopping days (dictated by paydays) and volunteer and work commitments: meetings already scheduled, cooking classes booked months in advance, and the like.
I have always enjoyed this particular exercise. Sprinkling the familiar amid the expanse of the unknown always gave me a sense of comfort; if not a sense of being in control, then at least a two-fingered grasp.
I had 19 cooking classes scheduled for the early part of this last year, which I pencilled in along with notes on their theme. Inserting the first three months’ daily pages into my gold planner binder, I felt a sense satisfaction that the year was organized. I wouldn’t be stepping out entirely into the unknown. Did I mention I designed my own planner pages?
On January 2 I returned to work and my planner was stolen.
It disappeared from my shopping cart sometime between check-out and loading the groceries for a cooking class into the pool vehicle I was driving. I had a curious sensation of drowning, or of standing on my head too long, where the blood rushes into your head and makes your ears pound. I did not know it yet, but the entire trajectory of my life as I knew it was about to change, had indeed already changed. It was like God was saying, “I have other plans for you.”
I never saw it again.
I got through those first couple of months with a steno pad and sticky notes, feeling dizzy and disoriented, until I finally came to terms with the fact that it was gone forever, along with my lists: ongoing shopping list, daily blessings, prayer list, project notes, birthday gift record, list of items loaned/borrowed, book and movie lists, social security numbers for everyone in my family, and list of passwords. All. Gone.
This explains my hesitation. I think I am beginning to understand…the future is hallowed ground. Any sense of control, even a two-fingered grasp, is an illusion. Because planning for the future, while necessary and deemed respectable and responsible by society, is also meddling with divinity and should therefore be undertaken with awe and reverence.
I’m still adding all the birthdays and important dates to my calendars. I’m still making plans for next year. But I don’t believe in them quite so strongly as I once did. Because who knows what a year may bring.