Thursday, January 13, 2011

January: A New Year Begins

Here we are at the beginning of a new year and I suppose many people have already made and cast aside their New Year's resolutions. I am still contemplating what I should resolve on that front. Some advice is sage and this one from Ben Franklin fits that category, but without offering too much help on how to accomplish it. It seems to me that finding your own way is hardest, but also the most satisfying. Don't think for me, and I won't think for you.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. (woman) ~ Benjamin Franklin 

This is a cheerful little poem and one that would be good to recite at the end of each day, New Year or not.

Then sing, young hearts that are full of cheer,

With never a thought of sorrow;

The old goes out, but the glad young year
Comes merrily in tomorrow."

Emily Miller

Here again is my favorite. This time of year I think about this poem a lot and think it offers me my best hope for the coming year. It displays fear of the unknown going forward, and hope for comfort and direction in the unknown.

                       The Gate of the Year        

“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’

“And he replied,
‘Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!’

“So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the light
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

“So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

“In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth his intention.”

An interesting aside concerns the name of the first calender month. January 's root is Janus, from Roman mythology, the god of gates,doors, beginnings, and endings. He is typically depicted having 2 faces, one looking forward and one backward.
It is good to look forward, but experience has no meaning if we do not use its gift.

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