Saturday, December 31, 2011


"So this is the new year.
And I don't feel any different.
The clanking of crystal.
Explosions off in the distance."

Above is a stanza of the song "The New Year" by Death Cab For Cutie that I resonated with the first time I heard it. Every 365 days I believe that the minute after 11:59 pm on December 31 something magical will take place.

It never does.

Similar to how people talk about the non-mysticalness of baptism, the new year doesn't suddenly bring about incredible things. Usually it brings crap. There is excellence as well, but there is crap too. I always hope that it'll finally be the year I'll discover myself clearly and I'll be happy all the time like all the other people around me seem to be. I know they aren't truly happy necessarily, but I like the idea. I think the problem is that we place too many expectations on the new year. Its a huge responsibility for  people's lives to be great all at once. And of course, that stuff rarely ever changes in an instant.

One of the most depressing things for me is when I'm not accomplishing. Over Christmas breaks or summer vacation I'd set my goals so high that I couldn't ever reach them. They were ridiculous. So when nothing happened at all, I was sad and mad. At everything. And myself. So the New Years holiday has been an occasion to once more set up my pins of expectations and hope I don't roll gutter balls all year. Tis a hopeful time that causes me to look forward to the future and the possibilities therein. And the New Years Day parade is nice.

Now, in my idealistic dreamy mind, I say to myself that I will use my time more wisely this year, accomplish great things, and finally find a state of ultimate productivity for my creativeness. Subtly, I know the truth.

My friend Thomass the Math Wizard would tell me to be reasonable. For being a wizard, he is far from magical. To him, things are black and white. Logical and illogical. Efficient or inefficient. Not my kind of thinker and yet we are best friends. "Its more likely that you'll be productive for a good 12.865% of the year", I'd probably hear. He throws numbers around as if I'm supposed to understand what the hell they mean. But I think he's implying that I won't get as much accomplished as I think I will. He is probably right. So I'll shrug it off, give him the finger, and hope for the best.

"The Darkling Thrush" by Thomas Hardy was a required reading in high school, but I enjoyed it. In it, Hardy tells of the impending new year. He describes himself leaning against a gate and seeing a darkling thrush chirping and singing a cheerful song. The poem ends with him basically wondering if he was unaware about something that gave the bird cause to be happy, because another year was beginning and he felt crappy. He probably didn't have a New Years Day parade to cheer him up. But I totally understood what he felt, as I'm sure many people do. Some days I'm certain I missed an important life memo when I observe everyone around me. How organized, on time, up to date, and informed they are. Whereas I tend to sit, foggy-minded, amongst papers and books, unsure of what I'm supposed to be doing, and unable to make sense of common situations. But more than just an exciting time, or depressing if you're Thomas Hardy, New Years is a time of renewal to me. It gives us the perception of a clean slate. Of course we cannot make right our past wrongs or regain lost time. But we are given 52 weeks, untouched, unused, uncontaminated to try it over again. To use time wisely. To not do wrong.

This reminds me so much of God. A huge part of spirituality that I hold on to is the concept of not needing to be perfect, coupled with forgiveness. We sin. Its a part of human nature that we will never escape until that glorious day. But for now, our only strategy is to hold onto God, via Jesus. We don't have prophets that talk to God for us or priests to offer sacrifices. We are responsible for our own walk with the Lord. In walking, we find that sin separates us from Him. Repentance and forgiveness bind us back. Every day we're given a new clean record and how sweet that is. And yet sad, though, that people still believe they must follow rules and regulations to the tee in order to be saved. Jesus is the answer and He will take care of the technicalities. All we need to do is hang on. When we do fall however, surrendering makes us complete again.

As we again start the grind of 365 (366 for leap year actually) days, every single day we can start fresh with the One who knows no years. He knows no time. I think Ellen White says something about our falling and reconciliation back to Him growing us closer than if we had never sinned. Now that's something to throw a parade about.

I hope that you've all had a great and productive year. May blessings follow you into this next one and I thank you all for your support and positive feedback. "The Pumpkin Patch" has been a huge accomplishment for me and very fulfilling. I look forward to a full 12 months of blogging and interaction with all the readers out there. Happy New Years!

You can read all of "The Darkling Thrush" here if you'd like:


  1. So I'll shrug it off, give him the finger, and hope for the best." One of my favorite lines ever jerk! lol

  2. Oh, Josh, this is beautiful! Thank you for this awesome, thought-provoking post. I've read several blogs this morning on the "New Year", but yours is the best - I love that you put in writing what's on your heart - so much of it resonates with me. I wish you blessings in the new year, and always. And when crap hits, and it WILL hit, remember that even in the crap, God is good.


  3. Thank heaven for a God of new beginnings. You put it all together for us so well!