On January 2, 2018, I took down my 2017 Bruce Springsteen calendar and reflected on the past year. That eve, I thumbed through the pictures of The Boss and pages of my celebrations, holidays, events, and milestones. I wish I could report that I reminisced with a cup of cheer and shouted a “New Year, New Me” proclamation, but you can scratch that from the script. Instead, I continued brooding over last year’s heartaches, the ones I’d erase if only I penciled them in. I ended up building a bridge for unscheduled griefs and leftover letdowns to crossover to and stain my new Peanuts Gang, “Happiness is…” calendar.
My messy moods, in need of being thrown out, oozed like gooey holiday Jello molds shoved behind smelly Tupperwares of unidentifiable casseroles. Why do I keep this worrisome, wobbly stuff?
It seems trickier to remove the emotional build up of mental gunk than sticky bubble gum from an American Girl Doll’s hair. (I’ve been there.) If you don’t hack off the overpriced doll’s tresses, you can pay to order her a replacement head from the factory’s doll hospital.
A new, empty head sounded dreamy, but no fee or medical expertise can make real life head swapping a reality. I agonized over dark moments that became even more evident with a bright ball of light peeping through my window. Oh my my! Could it be a full moon? A lunatic inducing full moon? I checked the calendar, and as sure as Snoopy is Joe Cool, a circle symbol proved that a full moon loomed.
I went outside and saw the sky impregnated with a swollen supermoon, named at birth as the January Wolf Moon… and what a big, winter Wolf Moon she was! All the better to howl at, my dear.
It certainly requires a lot of patience, prayer, and focus to refrain from howling and to try attaining peace, hope, and joy. I wish a quick recipe of red wine and goldfish crackers was the answer.
But since it’s not, I had to vow to leave behind the past year’s gook. I already wasted too much toxic time replaying incidents that caused me to relive the shadows. I couldn’t mute the echoed volume of the blues, so I sent myself to bed, hoping to wake up on the right side of 2018.
Unfortunately, sleep escaped, so I tossed, turned, and woke before the sun. Although exhausted, I knew staying in bed was useless to solving my restlessness. I got up and went to the basement to force myself to exercise. I closed the nearby blind to hide the stalking wolf moon and slumped onto my recumbent bike, riding to drain my brain.
I regained some energy and positive vibes while pedaling and reading a chapter from a self-help book, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. Although the bike physically took me nowhere, it and the inspiring words helped me stifle the growling impulse to howl. The combo of sweating and reading can be quite therapeutic.
My “therapy session” went fifteen minutes into overtime, so I had to rush to get ready for work. I showered, slapped on a face, and inhaled Cheerios in record time. I plopped into my car, and while pulling out of my garage, my cell phone rang.
The caller ID surprisingly revealed it was my dear friend Margie Malloy. She and I taught together for years until she recently retired. Although we love our talks, laughs, and time together, staying in touch has been tough. Months had slipped by since we had last spoken, so her unexpected, morning call alarmed me.
“Margie? Is that you?” I inquired.