I don’t like Eliot’s grammar in the last sentence but I do like his quote. Take a second to reread it. What do you think he means? Let’s ponder his words together.
In January, most of us look ahead. For instance, we buy a new calendar. The new calendar is a clean slate, nothing scribbled, nothing planned, nothing left undone, and nothing commemorated. An empty calendar represents time, hope, possibility and a fresh start.
In January, we step on the scales and weigh ourselves. As soon as we step off the scales, we run to the kitchen and throw out the Christmas fudge, cookies, dips, and chips. A purged refrigerator and pantry represents health, weight loss, and a fresh start.
In January, we go to the store and purchase bins, tubs, files, and folders. We vow that this is the year of organization. Then, we pray for a week’s worth of obsessive compulsive disorder so we can clean our cupboards, closets, and drawers. Organization and simplicity will help save time and simplify our lives for a fresh start.
At the end of January, we realize we aren’t off to a fresh start at all. The calendar is messy, overly full, and it has doodles and scribble on the pages.
New eating habits (diets) were over as soon as Super Bowl weekend arrived. Fresh green juice doesn’t cut it when everyone else munches on delicious snacks. We even buy new scales to start our weight loss program but the scales don’t lie, so we turn the adjustment down ten pounds.
New organizational tools are still in the floor in the closet and we decide they make us feel guilty so we hide the containers in the attic. We hope to use them at the start of next year.
In four short weeks, our fresh start spoiled and soured. Failure leaves a bad taste in our mouths, a knot in our throats, and a void in our hearts. Failure makes soul sickness.
What if we took to heart T.S. Eliot’s quote? What if we looked back at the end of the year before we look ahead to the new one? What if the lessons learned in the past could help us succeed as we start over this year?
Reflection is healthy and profitable. Before we open the new calendar, we could ask ourselves, why did I overcommit my time last year? What can I do differently this year?
Look at the scales, pantry, and refrigerator. What one or two bad eating habits from last year could be changed this year? Is the goal health and weight loss or is the goal a supermodel body to be envied?
We could walk through our homes and ask ourselves, how did these closets get so messy and cluttered? Could it be if we change our behavior, we will slowly eliminate the disorder?
Starting at the end doesn’t rob us of hope and potential. It empowers us to make wise and healthy decisions that will impact every area of our lives.
Starting at the end of last year may be the secret to a successful beginning this year. Let’s look back and remember together, maybe T.S. Eliot is right!
Cindy Molder is married to her high school sweetheart Mark. They have two grown sons, Mark Jr. and Jake, a daughter-in-love Kandi, and twin grandsons Cameron and Grant. She is the Director of Adult Ministries at Grace Community Church in Bartlesville. Cindy enjoys reading, boating, and freelance writing. She blogs at Pensees, Simple Thoughts along the way and Bloggy Mountain Breakdown.