This word has been circling my head lately. Jubilee. Like jubilant and joyous, only so much more.
In Biblical terms, jubilee is a celebration – a year-long starting over. In the Old Testament, every 49 years was the Year of Jubilee, a time when debts were forgiven, slaves were set free, land was returned to its original owner. It meant that if you'd fallen on hard times and had to sell yourself into servitude to pay your debts, you were freed from bondage. If you'd fallen on hard times and had to sell your land – your inheritance – it was given back to you. If you'd made mistakes in the past and been paying the price, you were forgiven and set free.
What an amazing concept! Talk about a clean slate! Talk about a New Year! Can you imagine the joy and partying that must have gone on?
As long as I can remember the New Year rituals we celebrate seemed out of place. After all, it wasn't really ever a new year in school. January first was a continuation of the same school year as December 31. Until college it wasn't even a new grading period. When I graduated from Penn State I went on to teach... keeping the fall school start the truest feeling of beginnings. Now I have kids and the cycle continues. January first? A new date to write on a check, maybe, but a beginning?
But this year I've been thinking about Jubilee. It doesn't come every year. Because it occurs only once every 50 years, it only comes maybe once or twice in a person's lifetime. And for some reason, this year feels like Jubilee.
While the vastness of marketing and selling Some Kind of Normal stretches in front of me, that book is written, revised, edited, queried, shopped, contracted and published. Whatever decisions I made along they way, they are made and done.
Now it's time to start over.
It's time to put the fears and stresses behind me. It's time to dream again, a bigger dream. It's time to forgive myself for what I haven't done adequately and strive to be better without the worry of failure.
There are, of course, things that spill over. There are all sorts of unresolved things in life that keep going on. I live in America, where the government and credit companies don't exactly recognize Jubilee, and so there are bills that still need to be paid and obligations that have to be met.
But personally, professionally, as a writer, as a mom, as a wife, as a child of God...
Today is a new beginning. A fresh start. A chance to do it again, and do it better. It's a new year.