"Anniversary Song" was written by Steven Digman, a gentleman about whom I know little, other than he wrote an amazing song that was recorded at some point by Eva Cassidy. This I know about Eva Cassidy. She has one of the most spectacular voices I've had the pleasure of hearing. And that she died in 1996 at the age of 33. In, as they say, relative obscurity. Her voice, her interpretations, her pacing...all of it...enchant and captivate. Hers is a voice you hear not only with your ears but also with your heart.
As this year dissolves into melancholy vapors and the new year staggers toward us like a newborn colt, I'm grabbed by the thought that we all are experiencing another anniversary. A day I put much more value upon than I do other significant days, including birthdays. Though we all simultaneously (time zones excepted) experience the end of one year and the beginning of another, that experience is as unique as stars, or grains of sand, or snowflakes. Simply put, we individually own each anniversary. We personally inherit a fresh beginning. And though we mourn those people in our lives who didn't make this particular anniversary event, we cannot help but celebrate the enormity of the opportunity.
The chorus of "Anniversary Song" goes like this:
I never thought I'd get this old dear
Never had a reason to live so long
And the Lord's been like my shadow
Even when I was wrong
No I never thought it would turn out this way.
Though compelling, the words alone don't do the song justice. Eva's voice and the music which accompanies her, however, form unforgettable art. That said, these words have stamped themselves on my soul. The writer is said to have commented: "Not being a religious man myself, I still think that if you live long enough, into your seventies, then God must have been there somehow."
Now I don't deign to suggest that Mr. Digman meant something other than what he said, but here's what I hear. What I hear is that the older you live, the easier it is to recognize God's hand in your life.
I wonder how many of us thought it would "turn out this way?" Whatever way that is. I'm going to guess there have been some unanticipated twists and turns in your life. Along with those times when you pause and contemplate how you got to the place you find yourself today and consider the question: how in the world did I get here?
But here is what I like about one year ending and another beginning, this fresh anniversary and the blessing to be able to experience it: we have a fresh opportunity to rewrite the way it turns out. Not the whole book, the entire story, all the verses of the song. But a chance to grab a fresh sheet of paper and go in the direction of our choosing. To pick up where we left off and plot a new adventure.
Amazing, no? And here's the real kicker, we have that opportunity every single day...to re-route our own history. To redirect our own future. I just happen to think that on the most unique day of the calendar, the one that begins as one year and morphs into another, there is extra impetus to do so.
Forget the resolutions. When did you ever stick to them anyway? Just plan on getting up in the morning and walking out into the sunshine of the first day of 2017 and celebrating another anniversary. And that shadow you see? Well, I think Mr. Steven Digman would say that it's a reminder that the Lord is right there sticking with you. As close and tight as He can get. Even when you're wrong.
Happy New Year, folks. And a very happy anniversary to you.