We have crossed the threshold from 2015 to 2016. We are on the brink, at the dawn, on the verge of a new year. As singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer says, “At a threshold there’s often a moment where what is old has passed away, but the new hasn’t quite arrived yet. So you stand there at the doorway.” As you and I stand in the doorway, we can take time to contemplate how to make this new year count. How can we make this quickly-passing time significant? When you and I are on the threshold of 2017, will we look back at wasted time or will we smile at what we and God have done together?
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Carrie Newcomer is a singer-songwriter. Her albums include Betty’s Diner, The Gathering of Spirits, and A Permeable Life, which has an accompanying book of poetry and essays. In her poem The Three Gratitudes, she reminds us that each day will be brighter and more memorable if at the end of it we “hold what lightens and softens” [our lives] closely and count our blessings:
“Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.
And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing, Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.”
Thank God for the sweetness of it all!