The New Year?

January 7, 2009, 1:00 pm; posted by
Filed under Articles, David, Featured  | 1 Comment

New Year’s Day has never been a very cheerful time for me. I still remember New Year’s Day 1980. I was at a skating party with my college friends while a song played on the radio: “Are You Ready for The ’80s?” A flirtatious girl was skating with me; she batted her eyes and asked, coyly, “Are you ready for the ’80s?”

“No,” I said. “I wasn\’t done with the 70\’s yet.”

And I meant it: there were too many unresolved issues and disappointments. I wasn\’t ready to move on.

“Is this the new year, or just another night?
Is this the new fear, or just another fright?
Is this the new tear, or just another desperation?”

But I can\’t remember a New Year quite like this one. Everywhere I look I see despair. The headlines are dominated by economic collapse, here and around the world. At home my wife has received word that her school’s paychecks are safe only through May, while the company I work for is suffering through the worst time I have seen in my 15 years there. The last two weeks of the year I literally sold nothing; everything we sell is financed, but we have no one to do the financing.

Short-term, this means a 60% drop in pay. Long-term, it means no job.

Everyone hopes things will change with the New Year, but I can\’t see the difference between 11:59:59 on December 31, 2008 and 12:00:00 on January 1, 2009. Maybe I\’m just a pessimist.

“It\’ll be a day like this one when the world caves in,
when the world caves in,
when the world caves in.”

There has never been another time in my life when we were fighting simultaneous wars on two fronts. At least being hated by half the world for being who we are is familiar. Sadly, so is seeing our troops die for far-off people who don\’t always seem to appreciate it. And then there\’s the Middle East erupting in violence again.

“Is this the Kingdom or just a hit and miss?
I miss direction most in all this desperation.”

After all these years, I still obsess over these disappointments, these unresolved issues. I feel like a man who can\’t run anymore, so I\’ve slowed to a crawl — too burdened down; too encumbered; too confused about which way to go, even on spiritual issues, including church.

We have a daughter, our older one, who has always been a master at twisting words. I remember catching her in a lie once as a teen, and she told us it was “faith” — she was simply “speaking things that were not as though they were.”

Sometimes I struggle with which is faith and which is the lie. Is it faith to pretend things are not the way they are? Or is that the lie?

“Does justice ever find you? Do the wicked never lose?
Is there any honest song to sing besides these blues?”

I\’ve had many good pastors over the years. I remember one of them, Pastor Larkin, preaching that David didn\’t close his eyes and pretend Goliath was a dwarf. He looked him up and down — took his full measure — then said, “Who are you to defy the armies of the Living God?”

So I have no fear of the future, just a dislike for the depressing atmosphere of the present. And I will always prefer the honest song — even if it is the blues.

(All lyrics from “The Blues” by Switchfoot, from Nothing is Sound)


1 Comment to “The New Year?”

  1. Phil on January 7th, 2009 8:20 pm

    I’ve always loved that song. I used to know how to play it. Very well written article. Kudos.

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