I keep hearing that the new year is a new book, each day a blank page to be filled with life. Being a writer, that is a fun analogy for me. Yet, I realize that there are not any truly blank pages. It isn't that we can't begin each day anew, it isn't that we can't put the past behind us. It is simply that there is an ongoing story we have been working on, and that story line will inform any new chapter. Life isn't a collection of short stories. It is a full blown novel.
Like any good story, there will be plot twists. The characters have to grow and evolve to keep our interest. Personal growth depends on choices the characters make much more than the exterior events that happen to them. Some chapters are about the wheels coming off. About the cause and effect of actions and behaviors that we silently beg our protagonist to avoid. We see what is coming, and we hope against hope that they will not pay the price for those choices. Some chapters are about heartbreaking loss, the deep grief that comes from having loved and lost. But for me, the toughest chapters to read are steeped in regret. Regret is even harder to deal with than resentment. At least with resentment, we somehow get to blame someone else for our trouble. But regret--that is the most personal, most convicting, most difficult emotion to deal with.
Maybe 2014 is a new book. But it is a sequel. Whatever I write this year will be dependent on having dealt with the past in a way that frees me to look forward. Since I can't change the past, I can't go back and rewrite it, I will just have to do the work that sets me free from it. Maybe that is making amends with someone I have hurt. Maybe it is forgiving myself. It could simply involve acknowledging the actions as having happened and going on.
With my people to love and so many blessings in my life, I can chose gratitude over dissatisfaction. I can choose acceptance. I can write grace into the story. I only need to remember what is real and important. The sequel to 2013 has a really great beginning. No doubt there will be plot twists, conflicts, and those forehead-slapping moments of recognition that my protagonist did it again--doh! But that's where the grace comes in.
Happy writing, y'all.