The poet Robert Burns took an age-old Scottish ballad and transformed it into a song that has been sung for generations – one that is traditionally sung to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new.
The connotation of the words “auld lang syne” is one of nostalgia for time gone by, for friends lost and found. The song recalls youthful days spent in nature and adventures of old, camaraderie and separation, good times and bad. It’s a fitting tribute to the end of a year and the start of a new one.
As I reflect back on my own life in 2014, I recall wonderful new beginnings, such as the start of this blog. I’ve attended family weddings, met a grandniece and grandnephew, caught up with college buddies, and watched my own children grow both physically and emotionally. I have also experienced the death of loved ones, the aging of parents, and the painful realization of my own shortcomings.
I have always loved beginnings: the first day of school with a new notebook and a sharpened pencil, the start of a movie in a darkened theater while I try to munch my popcorn quietly, Monday mornings when the kids are off at school and a new week unfolds. So I love the first day of a New Year. I set goals for myself and feel a renewed sense of purpose. Although every day is a chance at a new beginning, January 1 is a particularly special start to a whole new year.
At the same time, I contemplate with fondness the things that never change: my love for my family and friends, my faith in God, and my appreciation for the beautiful Earth, whether blanketed in snow or bursting with spring blooms.
To paraphrase a verse from Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne,”
And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For auld lang syne.
Happy New Year.