Cosmic Etch-A-Sketch, December 31, 2018

The end of the year is, admittedly, an arbitrary boundary. True markers of time are best drawn once time is done, or at least one’s life. There is nothing intrinsic about Monday, December 31 that signifies the end of one period and the advent of another. Yet there is something, at least for me, about the ending of one year and the beginning of another. Perhaps it is cultural permission, and more importantly, support to start over. For 356 days, we haven’t quite drawn the lines in our cosmic Etch-A-Sketch the way we wanted. Once the day and deed is done, it is done. We cannot go back in time and remedy what was done poorly or done wrong. But we can flip the Etch-A-Sketch, shake it, and start over with everyone else. Snakes shed their skins and some mammals shed their coats and antlers. Unlike the other members of the animal kingdom, we cannot renew our outside; instead we are given the responsibility and opportunity to renew what’s inside. Of course, we don’t have to wait until January 1 to renew our heart, mind, and soul. We are called by Church to do this every day, even every minute of every day. This is why we celebrate the Holy Eucharist every day as reasonably possible.

The final day of the year began the same as the first day – Morning Prayer and Mass. The mass intention was for faithful stewardship in hopes that the day would bring us in the black financially so the books can begin a new year in a right way. Again, it’s such an arbitrary boundary but a boundary nonetheless. If we finish the year in the red and on the very next day we are gifted two million dollars, we still end the year in the red even if we are flush with cash. This is why I shouldn’t stress so much over it.

The morning was spent in the office with my colleagues. We closed the office at noon even though most worked well past. I worked to empty my in-box. I wanted to begin 2019 with zero emails awaiting my attention.


After church, I went to the grocery store to buy food for New Year’s Day. Collard greens, black-eyed peas, and all the accouterments were in order. I have never cooked collard greens. My father hated the smell of collard greens cooking in the house. He said it smelled like someone cooked them under their armpits! But I’m game to give it a shot. Collards, onion, ham hock, etc. will go into the pot. It’s all a fun superstition. The collards represent green backs and the peas represent coins. If you eat them on New Year’s Day, money will fill our accounts the way the greens fill the plate. It’s never really happened the way I would want, but maybe it is a reminder that if millions never come our way, we always have enough. Scratch that, we always have plenty.  

No major New Year’s Eve festivities in the Rice house, although I must say that I stayed up three hours past the ball drop (in London!!). I was in bed and asleep by 10:30pm. But before I closed my eyes, Evening Prayer via the Daily Prayer app from the Church of England. I do the 1662 BCP office and it’s a very fine app. It wasn’t the Eve of the Holy Name, but I was too lazy to go downstairs and get the right book. Hopefully in the new year, I’ll be better.