The Blessings Jar

My New Year’s Eve was once again a time for reflection. We have a family tradition around this time of discussing the year gone by, highlighting the worst and best events, and then listing our hopes for the year to come. With our boys away partying and our plans for a trip to the coast stymied by headaches and tiredness, a cosy night in with my beloved gave plenty of time for thinking about the year gone by.

As usual, my mood tended towards melancholy. I always find New Year to be frosted with regret. I worry about ‘the things [I] have done and the things [I] have left undone’. It’s never easy being a perfectionist, the mistakes and errors in my life standing out like highlighter pen on a white page.

Nationally (and internationally) this has been a year of shocks and grief. Many will be glad to see the back of it. The Last Leg TV show http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-last-leg regularly asks its viewers to nominate and vote for the worst person of the year but this time the poll was won by 2016 itself.

However, I was heartened by this article on the BBC website, Four Good Things that Happened in 2016 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-38330452.

Did you know that this was the year when, after 50 years of war, a unique peace process including the contribution of victims, led to the signing of a peace accord in Colombia? Or that in 2016 scientists in Norwich have been able to remove the gene that makes tomatoes susceptible to fungal disease, which brings hope of alleviating world hunger? Did you know that in the past year malaria was completely eradicated from Sri Lanka and it only took 7 years? Or that the man who conquered his fear of flights by learning to hang glide, who went on to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon but was discouraged by the effect of burning propane gas to do so, this year took the first flight in a solar powered plane around the world and has been inspired to found the World Alliance for Clean Technologies? How amazingly wonderful are all these things!

As a natural pessimist as well as perfectionist my challenge is to develop a more balanced view and to keep hope alive by calling to mind the positive as well as the negative. At this time of year I need to remember the sunrise that melts my frosty end of December anxieties: that this is the anniversary of meeting my husband so every New Year’s Eve signifies another year of him in my life and that can only be positive.

And I need a counterbalance to my gloom and cynicism all year round. So I am setting myself a goal of keeping a Blessings Jar for 2017. You may have seen them on social media or in online shops. My plan is to have a physical jar (having cooked all my homemade mincemeat into pies, there’s a large kilner jar in need of a new purpose) in which, once a week, I will pop a written note of something (or someone) that was a blessing to me. I’m hoping for contributions from the whole family and then, at the end of the year, we will empty it and read them.

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I’m hoping also to keep a virtual Blessing Jar, to take this as a theme for weekly blog posts, using those notes as a starter. I don’t know if it will work, if I can write something interesting and stimulating on the same theme for a whole year, but I’m going to try. One of many blessings in 2016 for me has been to finally become a writer, to discover the discipline of regular blogging as the stimulus and framework for this. So, having completed two months of daily posts on a theme, and continuing to contribute to Five Minute Fridays http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/, this looks like a good next step forward.

I hope you’ll join me in my journey of hunting, claiming, and celebrating blessings over the coming year. I’d love to link up and hear your weekly blessings too. I hope you have many.

Thank you for your company in 2016 and may God bless you throughout 2017.

 

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