Endings and new beginnings are uniquely ours to celebrate and to grieve.
Grieving is essential to healing.
Celebration and gratitude are the innovators of a joyful life.
Today our cultures look to New Years for a fresh start with the hope that in closing one year the next might be better.
In becoming more self aware and healthy, I have a deep respect for doing endings and beginnings well. That’s why I have a tradition when it comes to facing a new year. It began when I read The Devil and Miss Prym back in university.
Miss Prym, the book’s main character, arrived at village on a mountain with a yearly tradition of meeting God face to face to settle accounts. On the chosen day each year the members of the town forgave God and let go of any grievances they had towards Him then created space for Him to forgive any grievance He had towards them. The point, while very similar to sacrifice, was to create a clean account between both parties.
I am not a theologian and for some this whole concept may seem heretical, but I think we all have “Why, God?” moments… and isn’t it lovely to register that there is a time and space to bring them?
Inspired by the book’s concept, I experimented with bringing my own grievances against God to Him to settle the account. In doing so I began working through some endings I hadn’t grieved and had carried around like luggage.
The process morphed in the years that followed the initial experiment. I decided to give God the space to show me the story of my life without pain and distrust I see it through in the way. What if my story was beautiful to Him and I couldn’t see it?!
So I created a bonfire and invited a few friends for a different kind of New Years.
I have often found that in community I feel the most vulnerable. So when I want to make a declaration, for me, I need the exposure of facing down a giant with an audience of people I trust.
My friends each brought a list of something they carried that they were willing to submit to God and burn at the end of the night. Our declaration in burning those records was to stop judging God and ourselves over those events and to no longer protect them from the touch of the Lord by staying angry.
Vulnerability has a way of bringing connection, and that night was memorable.
In the year that followed I heard the Lord tell me my story in a new way. He took what I had written on that page and showed me what He intended for me to see in a way that brought me comfort and peace.
This year, I am acutely aware of an account I need to settle.
The account I need to settle is with me.
Apologising to ones-self
I intend to apologise to myself for the ways I have bent my spirit and personality to accommodate others. I have learned that it is not worth keeping relationships you cannot be yourself in. I get one life to be myself and I do not think I should waste it being what people need. That doesn’t feel honouring anymore, it feels like a tragic loss.
I have held myself to a standard of perfection rather than being kind to myself and accepting with joy what I can do and letting the rest of the pieces fall where they may. I am not responsible for other people’s opinion of me, that is wasted energy. I am responsible for my opinion of me. Indeed I am an Enneagram three.
At this year’s bonfire, I will burn the many years worth of harshness and opinions that did not create life in me.
I will exchange the heaviness of those words and the effect they had.
I will exchange the choice to lock up my emotions and press on.
I will exchange the shame that comes with failure or being misunderstood.
And I will leave them with Jesus.
In exchange I will ask Jesus for a gift: kindness and gratitude.
Brene Brown talks about Gratitude (Joy) in her book The Gifts of Imperfection.
“Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments - often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.”
If we live too long in pain we will hide ourselves (scarcity) or create masks to hide inside of (perfection).
For the new year I’ve already made the cuts and begun the changes to press forward. In light of tradition, and out of my deep respect for endings I will again meet with the Lord over a bonfire and this time on a mountain with new friends. I hold in my heart a ferocious joy that I cannot explain for the new beginning I have chosen to step into.
Kalli Hendrickson is a Press Services International Columnist from the USA .
Kalli Hendrickson is a Press Service International young writer from Brisbane and now in the USA.
Kalli was born in the beautiful State of Montana, USA. She works doing freelance Graphic Design, and is a teacher studying to gain school counseling licensure.