I had gone to bed very early and was asleep by 9 pm. Yes, it was New Year’s Eve, but that didn’t matter when I was scheduled to work at 6 the next morning. I only slept for about three hours when I was awakened around midnight by the sound of fireworks going off all around me. New Years—2017, I thought as I continued to lie in my bed. I didn’t want to get up. Besides, there was no one in the house to celebrate with except the dogs. And they weren’t a whole lot of fun as they cowered and whimpered and yelped as the loud booming raged on outside the house.
I didn’t mind being alone that night. I didn’t mind not celebrating. New Year’s Day isn’t a holiday I observe anyway. Just putting a shared “Happy New Year” post on Facebook is basically as much acknowledgement as I give the occasion. I don’t write blogs about it (hhmmm…guess that’s kind of a lie now!). I don’t sip champagne. I don’t sit in front of the television watching the ball drop in New York City. And I don’t kiss or embrace anyone at midnight.
I lay awake for a few minutes as I thought about what makes up a year. Scientifically, a year is just the number of days it takes the earth to move around the sun. But isn’t life about the journey, not the destination? So, what difference does it make when the sun arrives back at its origin? And where did it actually start anyway? How do we know exactly where the expedition began? All right, so maybe I was giving this moment more existential thought than it really deserved. But some people rejoice with dancing and drinking; I rejoice with reflection and deep thoughts. Both celebrations, I guess, are ways of moving forward into new experiences. And I think many people were ready to move on.
2016 was difficult for a lot of people. It will probably be remembered as a time of death, loss, violence, and hardship. But is that going to stop just because the clock struck midnight on December 31st? Why do we think we can lock adversity into a Pandora’s Box marked 2016 and pray it will not be opened again. We always tend to use years, or months, or days as a way to compartmentalize and contain life situations.
But that’s just an illusion; life doesn’t happen in sections because time actually doesn’t exist. Time is just a manmade tool that allows us to track our days and put life into some controllable perspective. Time is just a mechanism that helps us organize our days, like knowing I have to be at work at six in the morning.
But there is no such thing as time and space in heaven. And if there are no limitations and no boundaries, how can death even be real? Death is not even a concept because life is continuous. The human concepts of space, time, and death don’t exist. I remind myself of this because there are so many things I still want to accomplish. But in order to reach all of my goals, to complete my life purpose, I cannot let myself be bound by the number of my days on earth or the physical walls that close in around me. I have to believe I can do anything at any time that I please. I have to believe I can be anywhere that I choose to be. I have to shake off my shackles of time and space and fears, especially of death.
Now, as I write this, we have completed the first week of what we consider 2017 and already my life has changed. I finished writing a new short story; I’m starting a new job; I‘ve have new opportunities to teach at Kansas City Community College, and I will be participating in some upcoming seminars. Do I owe my sudden good fortune to 2017? Do I thank the earth for starting a new journey around the sun? No, I just thank God for all of the many blessings I have received continually in life.
So now, I smile and know that life goes on and that all those things I thought we all lost in 2016 still remain. Nothing is ever lost in a life with no limits and no boundaries. Nothing is ever a challenge in a life with no concept of time or space.
And now, I sit here in front of my computer and wonder how in the world I am going to end this essay. I paced around for a while, took a shower, made a cup of tea…
And then, I smile as I realize…
…There is no end. Nothing ever really ends….
Definitely to be continued…