Lingering. That word has been meandering around in my thoughts lately, thanks to the writings of a friend. This time between Christmas and New Year’s seems like the perfect time to do a little of that. To let our thoughts and memories of the holiday we’ve just shared together and about the year that is coming to a close just linger a bit. Remain. Endure. Persist for a time before fading away. ‘Seems like a good time now to do so. Relatives have traveled back to their homes. We returned all that needs returning, took advantage of those after-Christmas sales and finished up the leftovers. Now we’re trading the melody of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for the New Year’s Eve favorite: “Auld Lang Syne.” Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians first played this familiar tune on a New Year’s Eve radio broadcast in 1929; and the song has since become a tradition. Scottish poet Robert Burns adapted the phrase “auld lang syne,” which can be translated as “old long ago,” in the late 18th century from traditional Scottish songs. For decades, people have agreed it makes a festive way to close the ‘old long ago’ of days past and usher in the hopes and dreams of a new year. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of Auld Lang Syne? … So here’s a hand, my trusty friend, and give a hand o’ thine; we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne.” Life has slowed down a little this week, offering time for reflection. What memories do we want to tuck away, with kindness, in the closet of our hearts? To take their place among the treasures of ‘long ago,’ ready to be opened and enjoyed in days ahead. As I prepare to pack away my holiday decorations, I’m reminded of the importance of passing along those items to my children as they build their own treasure chest of keepsakes. I want to share with them, not just the ornaments from the tree, but also reminders of the laughter, joy, sorrow, hope, and love that has woven our hearts together. The days seem to pass by so quickly and our focus, all too often, is on looking around the corner to see what lies ahead. How important it is for us to pause with family and friends – to linger a bit - as we reflect, with kindness, on what life has brought our way. Lest we forget those days of ‘auld lang syne.’ The past year was filled with some varied experiences. Victories to savor. Losses to grieve. A hurricane to survive. Opportunities to seize. Challenges to master. Obstacles to overcome. Joys to celebrate. Pain to endure. As I reflect back, I can see beyond the events to the life lessons God has taught me through them. Some experiences have been cause for celebration. Others, I’m grateful to have survived. Yet through them all, I have found truths I want to carry forward and build on in the days to come. Nothing to be wasted but rather wisdom and hope to be invested in the future. Right now – the quiet of this winter day while curled up in my favorite chair with a steeping cup of tea – I want to savor the spirit of the season that has brought warmth to my home and my heart. My New Year’s wish for you?  That you, too, will find a favorite place to settle down, let your thoughts linger a bit, and find warmth for your soul. Sip a ‘cup o’ kindness’ as you reflect back on the days of ‘auld lang syne.’ Tuck away what is to be treasured, restore what has been broken, share what can be passed along, and look for the lessons God has for you as you reflect on His unfailing love. May the music of hope fill your heart as you ring out the old year and ring in the new; and, “may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16). Happy New Year! Nancy Williams, LPC maintains a counseling, life coaching and consulting practice in Kingwood. Send comments or questions to her at www.nancywilliams.net.

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