Last night was supposed to have been no different from every other New Year’s Eve that I have spent in the last 10 years or so.
I was going to sit in my temple at home and spend the last hour of the year in quiet contemplation, reflecting on the good, the bad and the ugly that had been allowed to come my way in the past 12 months, to find the bits of gold among the dross. And I would have spent the first half hour of the new year in prayer for all that lies ahead in the next 12 months, asking for the healing, blessing and protection of all those dear to me, as well as the world in general.
But somehow, things did not go the way I had expected. I ended up having to keep the peace among my cats who, disgruntled by the persistent all-day rain, vented their frustration by stalking each other and generally looking for trouble. And before I knew it, 2017 had left and 2018 was here.
And then of course the disgruntled one was me. Still needing to sort things out, I decided to pour myself a glass of wine and write down my thoughts instead.
So here I am, having ended the old year and begun the new very differently from the way I had planned.
First, I thought I had wasted and “lost” the last hour of the year; but in reality, I had spent that time being very much in the present with my beloved pets; and nothing is ever lost when love is involved.
Second, I had wanted to spend time remembering the negative experiences of last year – to mull over them and perhaps, after prolonged examination, discover the lessons hidden underneath. Instead, the old year slid away from me, out of my control. And with it went the remains of the old energies which – if I were to be honest – I would likely have had trouble letting go of and moving on from.
What quietly came in, instead, was the energy of the new year. This is going to be a year of opportunities for growth and expansion of work; a year of truly finding your feet and learning to stand strongly and firmly on them.
And it is this energy that nudges me to focus on the negative only long enough to let it show up the multitude of positives that either resulted from that negativity or which would not have been possible without it. And I realise that all things really do work together for my highest good … no matter how wise I may believe myself to be, how carefully I may plan, or even how hard I may plead.
My father recently shared with me a poem, which is reputed to have been found on the body of a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War. It beautifully expresses the wisdom of the soul:
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for
but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among men, most richly blessed.
Happy New Year. May you get nothing that you ask for but everything you hope for, and may all your unspoken prayers be answered.