An Epic New Year.


The first week of January is already gone! I can hardly believe it.

With Christy, Asha and Fiona, we had a beautiful post-Christmas week, New Year's Eve, and Day, with a trip to Chiang Mai for movies and ice skating extending into coming home to set off fireworks and hand the kids sparklers. We came home at around 10:00 pm and put the little kids to bed. 

I wasn't sure I was going to make it into the New Year awake, so I took a catnap in Kenya's bed while she read beside me. At 11:30, Kai, Kenya and I started walking down to the second bamboo bridge, our traditional spot for ringing in the New Year. I've had so much fun lately with these big kids of mine. We had one epic, giggly night doing Christmas shopping in our little town, and now, moving quickly toward the New Year and the smoky night of fireworks and lanterns, I felt perfectly happy to be with them, and a little sleepy.

We were waylaid by a friend who surprised us with the fact that he was back in town, and reached the bridge as the countdown was happening, just in time to hug our friends and greet 2017.  

Then we watched as Neil gleefully set off fireworks, dancing after each one. All around us were lanterns floating into the sky, fireworks popping, people shrieking with excitement. There was one rather exciting moment when a lantern hovered too low and brushed an older Thai woman, leaving sparks glowing in her hair. 

She really didn't understand why I was running toward her, smacking at her head, so she ran away from me. I pursued her until she was cornered against an SUV and continued to smack her hair until the sparks were gone. She made disapproving noises. I forgot that I speak Thai, and gave her hair a couple of strokes to calm her, saying, "Your hair. Fire. Fire in your hair." She moved away from me quickly. My friends and kids tell me it was just as awkward to watch as it was to me, though they congratulated me on saving her. (And then laughed at me, as good friends do.) My only consolation was that her daughter saw the whole thing. I hope she explained it to her mother, so one day she can overcome her trauma and trust blondes again.

That was only the first part of the evening though, because then we went to Shekina Garden to start a fire and make chai. Many people had heard that we would be there, and everyone trickled over, forming a cozy circle around the fire. Ro and Neil, Josh and later, Chinua, played music, Olga made chapati over the fire, the chai kept coming, and our young friend Vrinda had found some marshmallows with chocolate centers that people proceeded to light on fire and eat, charred and smoking.

I peeled my kids away at 1:30, aware that we were having community lunch in the very same spot in less than 24 hours. But the music went on, and when I came to set up the next day, I learned it had gone on until 6:30 in the morning. People were bustling around, all energy, as Ro cooked, despite having slept for 2 hours. Three of the helpers had never left, curling up around the fire to sleep. 

I arrived thinking I was going to be helpful, as someone who had gotten some sleep, but when I got there, Ro was nearly dancing with energy. She gets filled up by people time, which I find baffling and endearing, as though she is a sort of strange alien. The food went out into the sala, the music kept on, and though people were slow to come, they came, and the space was full. I left at around 5:00, my chariot full of kids; Leafy, Solo, Isaac, Asha and Fiona. People were still playing music. It was an epic 24 hours of music. Fortunately our sweet neighbors enjoy hearing Chinua play Buena Vista Social Club at 4:00 in the morning.

And now we are presented with a whole year. Or maybe only a day. Or maybe only a moment. I've never been very good at living in each moment. It's something that Ian, Chinua and Christy have practiced extensively. I am remarkably resistant to contentment. So my hope for this year is that I will be kind (and not unkind), and that I will learn contentment. Not discontentment deferred until some future day (like: it will be better when I get this next book out, or when the kids grow up, or when finances are better) but contentment now, in the fullness of now as I sit with God's love directed toward me.  

Do you have any thoughts for your year?