As I reflect on last year my first thoughts are that it was just another year. No mountain tops and no deep pits. No real forward motion but no slipping back, just holding steady. The only thing that stands out is the death of my cat. Other than that there is nothing about 2010 that had any lasting impression on me.
But with further thought I realize I am more content and at peace with the world and myself than ever before. That alone makes last year one worth keeping in a treasure chest marked “Remember”.
Being content and at peace with the world and self does not come with trumpets and parades and loud hurrahs. It slips in quietly, unnoticed and unheralded, and takes up residence without a fuss.
How awesome is that?!
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but if I did I would resolve to more readily recognize the grace of contentment and peace that blesses my life.
Who, on earth, knows what 2011 will bring? What I do know is that I will keep my “Remember” treasure chest close at hand. And I will keep my heart open to all the grace and blessings of contentment and peace that is yet to be revealed .
My Ma was rather superstitious and she was very serious about her traditions and rituals. When we were little she did her best to instill these quirks of hers in us. This time of year there were a few things that had to be done–or not done–or else. What the or else entailed I don’t know because we were always sure to follow the rules about these things.
On New Year’s Eve all the Christmas decorations had to come down and be packed up and put away. You should never have the old hanging around on New Year’s day. This was sometimes kind of hectic and could be frustrating because what took days to put up had to be gone in one day. Somehow it was always done though.
Also, on New Year’s Eve you have to put a dime on the outside window sill. On New Year’s morning if the dime is there for you to take back in the house it means you will bring money in all year. But, woe, if the dime is not there to bring in you will lose money all year.
There were a couple of important things for New Year’s Day, too. One is never-never eat chicken on that day but be sure to eat fish. The reason for this is chickens scratch backward and fish swim forward–easy to figure out right–you don’t want to go backward in the new year, only forward.
The other thing is to wear something new on the first of January. You want new finery in the new year, don’t you? Who wants to wear old rags all year?
I laugh at these little rituals now–but not too loudly. I do put away the Christmas stuff on 12/31. After the big day all that stuff looks sort of tired and tacky. I don’t always wear something new on the first of January–I like my old rags so it’s ok if I have to wear them another year. The dime thing I don’t do either–maybe because I don’t have outside window sills. And I don’t usually have fish on New Year’s day but I never have chicken–haven’t a clue about why that one stuck.
I suppose these are silly little things but they are memories of Ma and they make me smile remembering her and her many quirky traditions.