As the wise philosopher, Bono, singer for transcendent rock band U2, famously sang, “All is quiet on New Years Day.” And it’s a good thing, too. How can a man properly examine what has become of his life amid all the noise and chaos of ordinary time? Obviously, he can’t and, I believe, isn’t supposed to. The intent of a culture of busy-ness and productivity is to beat us into submission, sedated by our own schedules and expectations. Anyway, all is quiet on New Years Day. And it’s a good thing, too.
I’m not one for a resolution, which is long gone by Valentine’s Day. However, my son mistakenly asked me if I have a ‘New Years Revolution,’ and I am always one for a revolution. So, this is my revolution.
First, resolutions fail because they are, usually, no more than throwing pennies into a fountain, no more than pie-in-the-sky wishes. They fail because there is no ‘Why’ to give any depth to the what. And it’s the why that matters, the why is the reason anything succeeds or fails, the reason we care. Lose 10 pounds? Because you want to see a smaller number on your jeans? Or because you want to live this wonderful gift you’ve been given instead of wasting it on the couch, or because you’re exhausted self consciously avoiding your life because of how you look in the jeans you already have?
There is a difference, and it lies in the why. The Scriptures begin with an account of the Creation of the everything. The interesting thing about this is that it’s a poem. We who are so enlightened, who are so educated, have now decided that we want our Creation story in scientific terms. What did it sound like when God spoke? Was there a Big Bang? What do you mean by a day? What about evolution? Dinosaurs? How exactly did all of this happen? But that’s not what we get.
We can read about music notes and theory, or we can hear “Round Here” by the Counting Crows. One gives us knowledge – and that is very important. One bypasses our heads and breaks our hearts – perhaps even more important.
An art museum isn’t Wikipedia. And it doesn’t try. The Scriptures, and the Creation account in particular, don’t try, either.
(Some places in this beautiful library are history, some are parables, some are letters written to specific people. Just like my library, on my bookshelf. I don’t have all non-fiction, or all graphic novels. The Bible is a library.)
They are linked by Truth, wherever it is found. In what actually happened, a story, a letter… Or a poem. Genesis 1 doesn’t tell us how, it tells us why. Why we are here, why we love what we love, why we do what we do. And it’s the why that matters. So, this is my revolution. I want to live a poem. I happen to care a lot about words and notes and theory, but those things only serve to bring me a step or two closer to having my heart broken into. I want to know how, but only in the service of the why. And it’s the why that makes these days far more than an existence. It makes them a life.