Monday, January 5, 2015

When the New Year is Not Happy

I love the excitement that people generally have as a new year approaches. It’s as if all the bad stuff is left behind and only the hopeful is ahead. I have spent many a New Year’s Day feeling this way. There had been a new musical instrument or accessory under the Christmas tree waiting to be mastered or vacation plans in the works for the coming year. But for some the new year doesn’t seem so delightful.

What if the phrase “Happy New Year” doesn’t ring true for you?

  • You were hoping for an engagement ring, but it didn’t happen. 
  • It feels like the best years are behind you.     
  • It’s another year where you are disappointed with your job or can’t find work. 
  • You were hoping that family relationships would have been mended for this holiday season, but it just got worse. 
  • It looks like another year ahead feeling alone, overwhelmed and broke. 
  • Your cancer treatments are ahead of you, not behind.

I don’t have something to propose that will solve all these problems – but you already knew that. You have probably been told repeatedly that life isn’t fair and (unhelpfully) told to just get over it.

What I do have to offer is this: 

Life is always better when you do it with others, in community.

When you are sad or discouraged, connecting with others might be the last thing you want to do. But I assure you, it is the best strategy. God said he would not give us more than we could bear – but He didn’t say we have to bear it alone. I would even argue that sometimes we can’t carry it alone, that the burdens are just too heavy. When you tell others your story, an exchange takes place that cannot be measured, but it can be felt.

Even in the worst of times we can also work on our gratitude list. There are always things we can be thankful for. It is a very individual list – I can show you mine, but yours will be different. For those of us who are in Christ, there is a life ahead without suffering, and for all, a life today where we are deeply loved by Him, even when we don’t feel it.

The other thing we can do is to dream. Dreams cost nothing and they travel everywhere. They can be big or small, but they say “I am not finished with life.” 
"When you cease to dream you cease to live."  Malcolm Forbes 

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