via Daily Prompt: Renewal

The New Year has to be about renewal, right. Renewal of vows, of commitments, of efforts, of intensity. It is an occasion–not the only one, I recognize–to assess where we are and where we are headed. We make new promises to ourselves while we renew other commitments more publicly.

To head senselessly into the New Year is foolish. Any effort needs to be informed by what has has come before. It helps to recall that the month of January finds its linguistic origin in the Roman God Janus. Janus was the god of transitions, doorways and beginnings. Typically depicted with two faces, he looks forward and backward simultaneously–to the past and the future. This is where we find ourselves: looking forward and looking back.

As I said above, a new year is not the only time to renew and recommit. Different faith traditions have annual thresholds and traditions and we would be wise to observe and learn from. The cycles of the seasons bring us renewal as well. I have always found that spring training provides sufficient renewal and possible redemption to make it the most wonderful season of all–especially after a typical New England winter. The season is new, the year is ahead and hopes are high.

Part of what I treasure about teaching is that it provides many different moments for renewal: new school years, new semesters, new sports seasons, new groups and classes. A former principal put this poignantly and, even though I understood it as a teacher and a student, it resonated with me in a meaningful way.

Now, we find ourself on the threshold of a new era in Washington and with it, frighteningly, a new world order. This present moment moment calls us to recall our past, recommit our efforts towards progress and prosperity for all.

May your New Year be full of promise and prosperity.

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