a new year

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I am at a precipice.  I can feel it.   I lost the rhythm of things; of life.  I am trying to get it back.

The new year ushered itself in without preamble.  It came upon us before we knew it and in a mad rush; we quickly rinsed champagne flutes and poured the Asti Spumante champagne.  The clinking of glasses and bubbly flowed amidst hugs and toasts, with family,  Another year flew by.  Just.  Like.  That.

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While sorting through over a thousand pictures, taken in one week’s time, I played the classical playlist in the background.  And then Ravel’s Bolero came on.  I found myself searching YouTube to see it performed live; enjoying Valery Gergiev’s interpretation with the LSO…

…and I was transported to my last year of college; headphones on.  I listened incessantly to the tape given to all students in the music appreciation class, taught by the saxophone teaching assistant who was a friend; deciphering musical themes and period styles.  Maurice Ravel & Claude Debussy represented the Impressionist style and, along with George Gershwin; were some of my favorites.  Bolero would continually play as I studied in the tall library stacks late into the night; obliterating any distractions.  It became my theme song for that year; the repetitive motif slowly building in a crescendo and, at the end,  abruptly changing keys to dissonant chords with the return to C major.  Some days the song motivated; others it felt like a dirge.  I had been on the precipice wondering where I was to go next.  Where would life take me after these four years?

It was fitting that the song found me at the auspicious beginning of a new year.  What lies ahead?  Where will my calling be this year?

It surprised me to see the words upon the wall as we exited church, last Sunday.  I have exited this foyer countless times, over the years, but it was the first time I had ever really paid attention to them.  My eyes are finally opening.  I am beginning to see.

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Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

It is not my intention, to be preachy, as I blog.  That hour on Sundays becomes my meditation time where all things clear from my mind and allows me to search internally, without distraction. The events of the week filter and sort as I sit amongst others;  saintly Catholic I am not.  But it is on this day that I know our family serves without expectation.  My sons do not receive volunteer hours for robing in albs and standing before a large congregation.  They don’t wish for their friends to see them up there.  Instead of fidgeting in the hard wood pews they are forced to focus; learning rituals and traditions that may or not stay with them in the future.  It serves as a reminder that we serve something larger than ourselves.

I see conjugated forms of the verb to serve everywhere; the question mark that lies in my mind and heart.

Each  year I have great plans for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I think of projects I will complete or things I will be cleaning.  But this year I finally gave myself permission to just let things be.  To not worry about the messy house, the exposed plumbing and cracked tile.  The files from work that would be sorted and shredded.  Instead, I granted myself grace to enjoy the luxuries I always wish for in my mind.  To sleep in and skip the workout.  To eat that cookie.  To stay home in pajamas with all my Christmas lights on, all day.  To sit by the fire and read the books unread on my Kindle.  The routines and rituals are suspended in these seven days.  I do not allow guilt to sit upon my shoulder.  The to-do lists will still be there for another day.  This week is for play.

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As I digitally scrapbook Bolero continues to play; my mind relaxed.  I can feel the changes within as I learn to accept my limitations.  I finally allow the doors of my heart to open to the anger and disillusion of things past. They flow through me to make space.  This winter break has allowed me to digest two amazing books, rediscover one of my most favorite classical pieces and spend time within my four walls with the other four inhabitants of my home.

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When the routine disappears our entire household creates its own entropy; the lack of order quickly becoming random and disordered.  Entropy seeks the lowest energy state.  The second law of thermodynamics states that, in an isolated system, entropy never decreases.

\Delta S = \int \frac{dQ_\text{rev}}T,

It seeks to find thermodynamic equilibrium.  Balance.  I seek this too.

In the new year this equation will stay indelibly etched in my mind.  I like to imagine concrete, logical answers to things that seem to be disordered and out of my control.   This is my resolution.  To always strive to find my inner equilibrium; my life’s balance.  To find value in all things; but especially in people.

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This holiday I found myself choosing to stand at sinks or to sit at dining tables.  My mobile device’s  screen remained face down as I joined conversations.  I welcomed new people and embraced the old; thankful we had another year together.  I breathed through uncomfortable moments where drama fought for center stage; giving hugs to those who needed them.   I sought connections while sitting at these tables.

I chose service at kitchen sinks; quietly rinsing dishes and loading dishwashers to give the hosts the time to socialize, themselves.   As a teen I would join the women in assembly line fashion as they brought dishes and washed and dried them; without the convenience of dishwashers.  Some of these same women are now in their sixties to eighties and I shooed them away; still offering to fulfill their obligations.  They question the modern technology that sits amongst the hands of the younger generations: phones and tablets that usurp their time.  But they are grateful for the dishwasher; the dish towels and sponges no longer needed.

A week later, on New Year’s Eve, the patterns repeated itself in a smaller setting.  After the traditional rituals and feasts from Christmas, the last night of the year was relaxed.   A smaller gathering of family sat around a dining room table during a Karate Kid movie marathon.  We had become absorbed in conversation and the movie’s final scene that we failed to realize how quickly time had passed; the  year rapidly coming to a close in less than five minutes.  In years past this time has dragged on; kids and adults, alike, wondering, is it time yet?

I found resolution to the questions of the 2014 year; letting them ebb and flow.  I am not writing checklists or typing resolutions.  Instead, I shall follow my heart and look to my children who hold the simple answers.  I embrace 2015 with open arms, mind and heart.

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A-men.

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