Monday, August 24, 2009

New Year

Lots of stress going on around here.  T-2 days and counting until SK returns to college, so there's laundry running, piles forming, lists fluttering on counters, lists in her head...and guests in the house.  Good guests, guests we love and are glad to have around, but they were sleeping on the other side of a sliding door from SK's building panic about what she has to do.  And that panic usually propels her to frenzied packing, or cleaning or whatever else she needs to accomplish, even at 1 AM.

Our guests leave Tuesday night, SK drives away Wednesday morning, and Beve goes back to work Thursday before sunrise (not that he has to, but he's an early riser who always feels there's more to do, and trust me, I'm not awake and missing him at 5 AM!).  So we have to cram the rest of the summer into the next two days.  But what I'd rather do is lie in my bed and hope the pain goes away.  The stress, the pain, the loss I always feel at this time of year.  Something's ending.  And even though something new is about to begin, it's what I'm about to lose that I'm feeling this morning.

For me, the beginning of school has always signaled that it's time to change the calendar.  Growing up with educators as parents, September was our "New Year's", not that snowy winter day right in the middle of the school year, right at the end of our Christmas holidays (that was long before it became politically correct to call those weeks off, "Winter-break", and anemic term for something so full of celebration, no matter who you were and what you believed).  It's a natural rhythm for us to align our brains with the nuts and bolts of our daily calendars.  We all do it, I suppose.  For accountants and corporate business people, the year begins July 1st, though I really don't know why.  It's anathema to me to plan my life around numbers, so the idea of a 'fiscal' year is something I avoid thinking about as much as possible.

For athletes, when a new year starts depends on the sport, and their 'years' (ie, seasons) can be much shorter than 365 (6) days, though I think their bodies age like dogs--for every hit in football, a month is taken away, and every season, they're seven years older than the season before.  That's why they typically only 10 years, and at the end, they move (at least off the field) like a 70-year-old.  Afterwards it's about all they can do to sit on their porches in rocking chairs, with a walker close at hand.  Their faces may be 32, but their bodies are broken.

There are always high hopes at the start of a year--whether that's a calendar, school or sports year-- high hopes and goals and great expectations. For Beve, this year might be the one where something breaks loose in a student and they begin to believe in themselves, believe in the possibilities learning has to offer, believe that there is healing for all the wounds inflicted by others and themselves.  For SK, there's now a house to live in, rather than a dorm, bringing increased responsibility and privileges.  She's a worrier, our Bug is, and this new year will bring many things to worry her: a piano proficiency test, upper-divisions (her vocal test), recitals, plays, worship team, work, a Jan-term trip to London.  Not to mention relationships with old friends and new, with housemates and teachers.  And  finances.  As a student at a private Christian university, finances are always an issue.  I don't know why private = expensive, but it certainly does.  And even though she has great scholarships, great aid, there still seems to be a gap between what she has and what she needs...sigh.

But, as Beve would say, "It's God's problem." This doesn't mean we sit back and hope a winning lottery ticket will float down our chimney.  Recognizing that God is sovereign, that He will provide doesn't mean we're passive in our own lives.  He made us with brains that plan. We pray, and think, and do the work, then lift our hands away from those plans, trusting that He's work in and through and even in spite of our work.  It's a paradox, of course.  Our working and our lifting our hands away from the work, but many, many things in life are such paradoxes.

So a new year, with worries, hopes and dreams sticking out of every box SK packs, out of every folder on Beve's desk.  And out of my empty pockets.  Happy New Year, loved ones; ultimately, may He be all your dreams come true.

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