Closing of the Year

I spent this last Sunday of the year as I spend many of my Sundays: reading the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and New York Times over a quiet breakfast and strong, fragrant coffee. Each of these newspapers featured lists and photographs from the events of 2012. As I read these summaries, I marveled at all that had occurred this year—throughout the world, and in my own city.  In our own household, the year brought great joy to our family with the birth of my great-nephew, Nathan. We also shared the grief of our nation when we learned of the tragedy at Newtown.

What to make of such disparate events?

I assume so much—because I cannot bear to think otherwise: that my family will be intact next Christmas. That I will again shop for those I love. That we’ll decorate our home and see friends and love one another. That we’ll be safe. That all will be well.

In the wake of this year’s events, such an expectation seems—at best—naive.

I wondered how I might let go of the closing year–and  embrace 2013. How I might respect what has gone before, and open myself—with hope—to what comes next.

The answer came to me as I read this gorgeous essay (see link below) by Andrew D. Scrimgeour in today’s New York Times Book Review. Mr. Scrimgeour is dean of libraries at Drew University. In “Handled With Care” he writes about removing books from a personal library once the owner of those books has died.  His approach is reverent, quiet, deliberate. It honors both the books and their late collector….without succumbing to a past that is no more. Handled with care. It seems a fitting way to let go of the past and approach another year.

Read the essay in full at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/30/books/review/handled-with-care.html?pagewanted=all

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