Saturday, December 17, 2011


Every December we get a new calendar for the upcoming year.  And before it goes up on the wall, there is one thing I always do.  

I take it out of its package, get some fine-point indelible markers in at least two different colours, and then take down the existing calendar.  Placing them side by side, I transfer all the special dates (birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates that happen every year in our family, such as new celebrations that I've written down as they happen) by hand from the old calendar to the new one.  I also take all the dental appointment stickers we had been saving for the last four to six months and place them on the appropriate dates in the new year.  

Once the transfer is made, I open the new calendar to January.  Then I put it up on the wall, and cover it with the old calendar opened to December.  When January 1 comes, I remove the old year's calendar and save it with the others in a special spot.  I have a good decade or more of memories in those calendars, because as events happen in our lives they get written on the calendar: deaths of family members or close friends, special dates that commemorate milestones of achievement - whatever the case may be.  

It's good to remember important dates, milestones, places where (as Abraham did to commemorate special memories) we build altars as a reminder that this is where God met us or when we survived this or that thing - or accomplished something.  Or to remember how long it's been since whatever it was happened.  It helps to have those visible reminders so that we can recall that things do have a way of working out - no matter how hard they seem at the time.  Or that good things do happen and that it's not all bad.  And finally, milestones help us know that we're on the right road, that we haven't strayed and that the journey is still in progress.  We need that too.  We need signs along the way to show us we're doing okay.  If we get that assurance, we can leave something permanent - pass on memories somehow - to show those we love that this is a safe path.

Some of the milestones we can celebrate don't have to be big things to us - but they can be huge to others.  The simple fact of backing up loving actions by saying loving words (and vice versa) can make a tremendous difference to other people, especially those closest to us.

Someday it won't be about milestones anymore - but about the gateway to another existence.  Then, we'll be even more glad for the road signs we've left along the way.

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