I love the first week of the New Year. There's so much excitement and anticipation. It's almost like being at the start of a race waiting for the gun to go off.
But in the Midwest, things are not about to take off. In fact, they are about to slow way down - even more than they already have. It's about to get even more dark, more dead. It seems like the only thing that's getting started is winter.
The beautiful thing about winter and the death that it brings is that it creates much needed space for the growth, renewal, and the spring we know will eventually come. But while the weather forces this cycle rather naturally on to the world beneath our feet, it doesn't always come so naturally to those of us who walk upon it.
I don't want to quit anything. I don't want to slow down. I'm not interested in dying. I don't want to give up a thing.
Later this week, I'll be sharing some of the things I'm hoping to do and be this coming year, but before we can get to all that, we need to make a little space.
We need to let a few things go first.
A least I do.
On New Year's Eve, I donated my old car to our church so it could be fixed up and given to a single mom. I bought it in 2000 and put over 100,000 miles on it. It has literally carried me across the entire country from Indiana, to Florida, to Chicago, to New York, to Seattle and back again. It has taken me to some dark places and it has taken me to some beautifully redemptive places as well.
About a year ago, when my wife and I got serious about getting out of debt, we decided we'd be a one car family and so my Saturn (barely driveable at that point) sat idle in the parking lot out back. After repeated threats from some of the older tenants in our building to "remove the abandoned car or else!" we decided we'd give it away.
But I dragged my feet.
For almost an entire year.
I wasn't driving the car. We didn't need the car. So why was I holding onto it so fiercely?
As I mentioned before, this car took me to some places I wish I had never gone and also to places that I thought I'd never have the chance to be. It represented, quite literally, the last 10+ years of my life. All of the good and all of the bad. My car was my totem, an emblym of my mythic past, which now had become a symbol of something that was taking up room that I needed for new adventures.
I don't know exactly what will fill the space the car is leaving behind, but at least I know that I'm starting the year off with a little more room in my heart and mind than the year before.
How many of us are holding on to objects, ideas, thoughts, or fears that have become emblems of a past (or present, even) we refuse to part with? I would venture to say that everyone reading this has one or two things that are taking up space that ought to be for something new.
The only question is if you'll let it go.
Will you let go of something old and make room for something new this year? [click to Tweet]
Unlike the frozen ground, we humans get a choice as to whether or not we're going to give in to this season of letting go and making space. Unlike the trees that must die so that they can live in the spring, we get to choose if we engage such a process.
On New Year's Eve, mere minutes before the deadline, I made the call and a kind man from our church came to pick up my car.
After he jump-started it and then drove it up the ramp of his truck, I found that I had become strangely sentimental recalling all our moments "together." I am not a car guy whatsoever, but all of sudden I was taking a dozen photos of my car. I didn't want to forget this moment.
I was saying goodbye to the chariot of my Odyssey and I was sad.
But I was making space...and that felt better.
What do you need to let go of this year in order create more space? Tell us in the comments below.