I wanted to write this New Years Day journal at daybreak, but coffee, breakfast, a couple of video games and a couple or three facebook flame wars quickly ate up the morning. So this gets started at the crack of noon, or perhaps a few minutes later.
New Years is always a puzzlement to me. Especially when my cosmic conscious friends start telling me what it portends. I don’t think Pope Gregory was all that prescient when he arbitrarily decided that the winter solstice was the beginning of the year. Turns out that he was a few days off on that calculation too, not to mention some four decades that he couldn’t figure out what to do with, and with the dash of a pen, just eliminated them.
One of my mystical friends was telling me what the numbers 2018 added up to, and how the alignment of certain planets and the moon was going to do to that vibration of the cosmos. I don’t want to mock my friend, but frankly, I can’t see how the selection of December 31st is going to impress the cosmos very much.
I can weakly admit that it is remotely possible that the cosmic streams and the pull of the moon on cerebral fluids would influence humanity, but a dimly remembered Pope’s declaration of the beginning of the New Year having any impact on the body and mind is a long stretch for me.
Those who know me know that I do have very strong religious convictions, and that I put an inordinate amount of faith in the ancient scribblings on parchment, paper and papyrus, and perhaps the faith in those scribblings would seem to be just as ridiculous to many as my friend’s musings about cosmic vibrations are to me. I am just as lost in defending my beliefs as my friend is in hers.
I try to not cast my pearls before unclean animals, though. I save the discussions and arguments for those who do understand those scribblings. Some of my scoffing friends sometimes read fragments out of those writings, and use them to mock believers, but I see no reason to give them the additional passages that debunks their understanding. Let ‘em scoff.
Faith is one of those odd things that you either have it, or you don’t. Even in my own experience, when faith is high in me, it seems like I have always had faith. And when it is low in me, it seems like I have never had faith. It is impossible for a man without faith to see the hands of God moved by faith. And a man of faith finds it incomprehensible that someone would not see those hands move.
One bitter January night in North Denver some five decades ago, I lay in my bed and asked myself if God was as insane as he seemed. Of course, that God was me, and since I was insane at the time, so was God. And if you have an insane God, you have real trouble. I don’t want to detail the follow-up from that questioning, it was intensely personal. But over the course of the following months I was changed, and so was the world around me.
I would like to tell you that I became a real sweetheart, sort of a mixture of Saint Francis and Moses, but no, I really didn’t turn into a nice guy. I did turn into a more peaceful one, however. But I merely had better manners.
Only with age have I developed any sort of pity for mankind and the terrible morass that has befallen him. It has taken me almost half a century to gain enough humility to ask what had happened to us. The answer hasn’t been a very comforting one, even with the promises we have been given. I look back at my early years of setting out on this path with a little embarrassment. Even from the miserable circumstances I was in, I swaggered in ignorant arrogance.
I am beginning to see that it is in age and infirmity that true wisdom and humility can come, if we let it. Not that I am presenting myself as any sort of paragon of wisdom and maturity. Follow me around on facebook, and you can see much of my old ignorant swaggering. My former pastor used to say that he didn’t put a religious bumper sticker on his truck because of the way he drove. Yeah. That is me. I am better off not wearing the robes of piety …
But still, old men dream dreams, and God reveals himself to them in a very unique way. Often in spite of themselves.
Happy New Year!
Spring follows winter … ‘til it doesn’t.