Do you remember all the good stuff that happened in your family last year?
I don’t, but my friends Claire and Kirk do.
As I checked out facebook on New Year’s Eve, in the midst of all the Happy New Year’s messages, I found Claire and Kirk’s post that they were ready to begin their family’s Annual General Meeting.
Are you kidding me? An AGM on New Year’s Eve?
Has this become how we celebrate a new year in the midst of a pandemic?
I viewed the pictures that accompanied their post to see if they were serious.
As I looked past the white board that was propped up near their Christmas tree I saw an inviting bistro table nestled beside a crackling fireplace. On the table was laid the family china, lit candles, a platter overflowing with fresh oysters on the half shell, a charcuterie board with a variety of cheeses and breads, and the promise of take out sushi from a favourite restaurant arriving soon after this course was done. And there, amidst everything else on the table, rested a ‘Good Stuff’ jar, waiting for the meeting to begin.
This was no annual meeting that I’d ever been to.
The text accompanying the pictures spoke of their practice of setting out an empty jar at beginning of each year with the invitation to everyone in the family to deposit little slips of paper into the jar any time they experienced ‘good stuff’ they wanted to remember and celebrate. Big events, little happenings, successes, joys, friendships and special moments are all to be placed in the good stuff jar. Then, on New Year’s Eve, with a special meal and a glass of wine, they un-stuff the jar and remember all of the good stuff that has happened in their family over the last 365 days.
What a wonderful way of recalling the events, achievements and relationships encountered along the way; the kids doing well at university, a wall painted, a dinner with friends in the backyard, good news from the doctor, a quiet walk through the neighbourhood at dusk, a night of laughter and tears watching a favourite movie. The jar overflows with these and so many more memories to delight in.
Claire and Kirk (and their kids when they’re home from university) spend their New Year’s Eve recalling every story recorded on those treasured slips of paper. In true AGM style they put them up on the white board and then in the new year Claire transfers each one into a Word document of bullet points. She wonders if they’ll hold an over the top ten year general meeting to celebrate a decade of treasured memories.
There is so much to worry about these days. In the midst of a pandemic with its lock-downs and protocols that are now stretching into their third year, many of us find ourselves overwhelmed by the weight of the troubles we experience personally and/or hear about from others and through the news. It is easy to lose sight of the good stuff that is occurring in the midst of it all. Claire says that the ‘Good Stuff’ jar helps to pull her back to the ‘light-filled’ side when the ‘trouble spots’ overtake her. We all could benefit from good memories.
My New Year’s resolution – to get a jar and fill it up!
How will you remember and celebrate the good stuff that happens in 2022? Perhaps a ‘Good Stuff’ jar could show up on the kitchen counter at your house.
You may also want to share this simple practice with the people of your church. It might initiate a new tradition in their homes too!
Thank you Claire and Kirk for sharing this wonderful tradition with us. I look forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve next December remembering and giving thanks for the ‘Good Stuff’ that has happened along the way.