Post 44/2020 Thursday 31 December 2020 . . . The idiom, “Out with the old, in with the new,” gets bandied about at the start of a new year. Leave old things, old ideas, old habits behind; start fresh. It sounds assertive, chirpy, a good thing to do. It also strikes me as choppy, sloganeering, too nonchalant.
How does one come to seriously sort and pitch the old of 2020 and open the door to the new of 2021? There’ll be a difference, right? Even as (I speak with mild exasperation) we’re still waiting for delivery of an online order that should have reached us days before Christmas. It’s not as though we have a North Pole address. (This too shall pass).
Thank goodness we have recourse to the long view in the wisdom of old, such as in the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, Ring Out, Wild Bells (1850). Words below.
First, some photos of one of our walks this week.
Winona Lake, Indiana
On Sunday afternoon we walked Winona Lake’s Heritage Trail, a 1.8 mile portion of the Lake City Greenway. Winona Lake is a town next door to Warsaw. It was good to see a number of people out on foot and some on bikes. Winona Lake is home to Grace College and Theological Seminary, The Billy Sunday House Museum, and where The Village At Winona encompasses a National Register of Historic Places site of retail and service shops, restaurants, open areas and festival venues.
Ring out, wild bells
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was a poet of the Victorian era. He wrote this poem in 1850, the year he was named Poet Laureate. (Today, the noted poet would use inclusive language, which we’ve only been adopting in the half century past).
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true. Ring out the grief that saps the mind, For those that here we see no more; Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to all mankind. Ring out a slowly dying cause, And ancient forms of party strife; Ring in the nobler modes of life, With sweeter manners, purer laws. Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times; Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, But ring the fuller minstrel in. Ring out false pride in place and blood, The civic slander and the spite; Ring in the love of truth and right. Ring in the common love of good. Ring out old shapes of foul disease; Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace. Ring in the valiant man and free, The larger heart, the kindlier hand; Ring out the darkness of the land; Ring in the Christ that is to be.
There’s maybe not as much nostalgia to be had from the year past, except in deepest gratitude for the people that fill our lives. Today I’ll think about old friends, past and present, and wonder at the prospect of adding new friends to that cherished circle in 2021.
Those are some of my thoughts as I sit on the cusp of newness often marked at midnight by Robert Burn’s song, Auld Lang Syne (For Old Time’s Sake, 1788). We delight in sharing, preserving, celebrating and advancing the goodly heritages of all people.
This may be old news, but it endures. Today in the post we received a flyer from the City of Goshen: Goshen’s Covid-19 Refresher. You guessed it. It notes the simple, straightforward, effective ways “to help keep your loved ones safe.” We know them. Lord help us practice the same.
And in the Greencroft Campus Life, a delightful paraphrase of The Night Before Christmas, titled January 1, 2021. The last two stanza’s:
January 1, 2021 And so we continue to quarantine here, it seems a long time in winter so drear. But today there is snowfall and music to cheer. We're in it together! Vaccine is soon here! Alice Roth
Now, as evermore, when you need it most, may you find a moment outside of the every day. Happy New Year!