John Locke's theory of a Tabula Rasa, or the fact that everyone starts out with a clean slate and can determine their own destinies despite the past, is wonderful when used by societies to push for equal treatment of all persons. It sucks as a theory for approaching the New Year.
Most people think they can erase the past and start over when the clock hits midnight. But being made new does not erase the old. We are our past. We are so much more than that, but in many ways what was determines what is.
I've shared this before, but I just love it. So did Kyle. (I think he used it in a sermon before.) Maya Angelou was talking about Loretta Lynn's song "The Coal Miner's Daughter," and noted that Lynn with that song, and with her whole body of work, took her past and didn't seek to erase it. She also didn't become trapped by it. But she took her past, all that was, the good and the bad, and she let it walk beside her wherever she went.
Is that beautiful or what?
Here's how I spent today, the first day of 2006, in the year of our Lord:
I stumbled, groggy, to the refrigerator to grab a bottle of water. I found the gift JenA brought over last night but didn't want me to open in front of everyone. Smart decision. Homegirl went off and got the recipe for the Blue Mesa Margarita I mentioned in this post, and purchased the ingredients and placed them in a gift basket. I don't think I've ever received a more thoughtful gift.
Kyle always talked about "Kingdom of God Moments." I swear, when I opened that card, I had one right there in my kitchen.
My first breakfast of this year was in solitude and courtesy of The Cracker Barrel. It was the Old Timer's Breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, a sausage link, two buttermilk biscuits with gravy, grits in sawmill gravy and hash browns.
On my way to church I headed to the gravesite, which I try to do at least every Sunday. Some of the raw emotion is gone, but I'm still going. I need to. Everytime I park and walk up to it I still have the same thought going through my mind, that it is still so unbelievable. Sometimes its an unbearable thing to carry and sometimes it's almost humorous in how ridiculous it sounds to say "I went to Kyle's gravesite today." Like a horribly tragic joke you know shouldn't be told, but you tell it anyway.
At church we sang a new song that Crowder wrote last week. Another unbelievable thought occured to me. The song had us all in tears, (except for Ben,) and I realized we were singing a song that will be sung and embraced by generations of people for years to come. One day that song will be in a freaking hymnbook I'm telling you. And here we were singing it, together. Taking our grief of the past year and our joy at being together with old friends who came to visit and some who are leaving and having babies and starting careers, and our hopes and trepidations of the future, and allowing all of that to walk beside us.
Not a bad start for the New Year.