According to my Instagram feed, the New Year is all about new beginnings, starting something new, setting new goals. I’ve seen pictures of green smoothies, running shoes, blank to-do lists, and organized closets.
Many feel like the New Year is a chance to start over. And this is great.
This is great if the New Year actually does find you in a new season, and not the same season you were in in December. If your life really does look different in January, and you really can leave the old behind and start fresh.
But what about for the rest of us?
What about those of us who are still waiting for something from last year to resolve, or still hoping for something that we hoped for last year to happen? What if the New Year finds you smack dab in the middle of your story, and not at the beginning of a new one?
I love this line from Cormac McCarthy’s novel All the Pretty Horses: “Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.”
Were truer words ever written?
So often most of us are lying in wait.
We live much of our lives between the wish, and the thing that we wish for to actually come true. We live our daily lives between where we are and where we want to be. Between what we have and what we want to have.
If only January 1 was a magic genie that made our wishes happen so that we really could start over each year, so that we really could stop waiting.
I was thinking about this the other night while I was working out.
I go to this class called Beatbox in Nashville, and it is really hard. It’s an hour long and as soon as it starts, I anticipate its ending. From the first minute, I can’t wait for the class to be over so we can do the cool down song and get out of there.
Working out is hard, especially for someone who has little to no upper body strength.
But you know what happens between the beginning of Beatbox and the end of Beatbox? Beatbox. The actual exercising part happens. Without the middle part, there would be no work out at all. There would be no reason to anticipate the ending because no work would have been done.
There would be no results, no reason to feel proud of myself, no healthier me.
I want to start viewing the place “between the wish and the thing” like a Beatbox class.
The waiting part is hard and difficult. Being in the middle of your story can feel exhausting. It can leave you breathless, hopeless (just watch me try and do a real push-up), and discouraged.
I wonder what you are lying in wait for? I wonder how long it has been? Are you on the brink of giving up? Is this New Year simply a reminder of all the things you don’t have yet, all the things that haven’t happened?
I get it. I get that.
Some things we lie in wait for take days.
Some things take years. That’s why we have to be where we are. We have to sit in the waiting place is if it is where we are supposed to be, not what we are trying to escape from. We have to recognize that good things are happening to us here, in the middle.
We have to grit our teeth and fight the bitterness.
We have to lean on something bigger and more powerful than our own weak selves and if we can, we will turn around one day and see that during the tension, we were formed into a person with stronger, deeper, more loving, understanding and patient stuff.
So often the waiting is more about us than the thing.
Remember, you’re not alone in this. As McCarthy says, the world lies waiting. We’re all in this waiting thing together. Waiting and hoping for different things, but waiting together nonetheless.
The space between the wish and the thing is slowly but surely becoming a place I am more ok with being, and a place I am realizing I will spend a lot of my life. This is a good thing because it is during the tension, and not at the end once the thing is achieved, that we are becoming who were meant to be all along.