First, a little back story.
For the past few years, I have had a small metal painted bird that hangs on a wooden post in my front yard. It's about 12 inches long...not big but certainly not that small either. Every day, as Ranger and I have returned home from our daily walk, I've developed the habit of glancing up at this bird on his perch and giving him a little greeting.
About six weeks ago, I noticed the bird had gone missing. I searched through all the garden beds in the area, among the dormant plants and under the fallen leaves, first at night with a flashlight and then again in the daylight. But it was no use. I couldn't find him anywhere. Although he isn't valuable in the least, I have really missed seeing that little bird, and every day as I pass by where he used to be, I feel a pang of sadness and loss.
A few days ago, while returning from a walk after dark, I once again passed by this empty place and felt the same little wave of sorrow wash over me. And then, a few steps into the open yard just beyond the bird's former post, I felt a lightweight object gently twist itself around my ankles as I walked, and I heard the unmistakable twang of metal being jostled about.
Yes. It was my bird. Safe and sound, inexplicably lying out in the middle of the grass. There is no explanation of how this happened, but it did, and I am glad for it.
* * * * *
Now, on to today. January 1. Not only is today New Year's Day but also my birthday, so it's a day that marks a double turn on the odometer of my life. Almost always, I greet this day with enthusiasm for making a fresh start. Like most people, I enjoy the process of making resolutions for myself. I try to set goals that are concrete, realistic, positive and fun - like posting an Instagram every day, or baking a homemade dessert every weekend. I have a pretty good success rate with keeping my resolutions and find that they bring a lot of positive energy into my life.
However, resolutions are only useful for changing specific habits. When I honestly and thoughtfully explore what I want for my life in the new year, I want to do much more than simply change my habits:
I want to love more deeply.
I want to see the world with fresh eyes.
I want to better understand what I can give to make the world a better place.
I want to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone around me.
As I thought about this today, I realized that simply changing a few habits is not enough. I want my life to be transformed.
But unlike resolutions, transformation is something that you just can't plan for, or resolve to find.
Transformation is like a metal bird that falls from its post and disappears. You can search by day and night, turning over every leaf in the garden, but you might not find it. And then, when you have all but given up, and the loss of that dream feels like a pain in your heart, you may just stumble across exactly what you have been looking for all along.