What If Time Never Started Over?

Today I de-cluttered, just a little. It wasn’t by choice. It was forced upon me when John dragged out a drawer from my nightstand and began to gut its contents. I guess this was his forceful way of saying, “Mom, do you really need all this?”

As I took two bags of “unnecessary stuff” out to the trash, I wondered to myself why I tolerate so much clutter, especially for a self-proclaimed stuff-purger. The sock that’s had no mate for years. The paperwork, teaching CDs and welcome manuals that only collect dust in piles in corners. I guess I keep it because I think, if I ever get myself together, I’m really going to need these

And maybe the biggest deception of all: if I keep this one lonely sock long enough, its renegade partner is sure to return. 

It occurred to me at one point that today is New Year’s Eve, and I am de-cluttering, if even just a little, and by accident. Tis the season for starting over. 

But what if we never started over? 

What if we there were no New Year’s celebrations, no birthdays, no holidays to mark an end to one era and the start of another? 

What if all our stuff and our days just kept collecting, heaping up on themselves? 

What would that be like? Maybe something like this. 

   –734,867.91.  That’s the number of days since the year 0 AD/CE. Approximately, taking into account leap years and a Gregorian calendar change in about 1500. (See more about time here.)

  –11,415.51347. As of today, that’s the number of days I have lived. (Same rule about time applies.) 

Can you imagine that? 

So you meet me, and I’m like, “Hi, I’m Sarah. I’m a social worker, wife and mom, and I’m 11, 415.”

Gah! Besides sounding terrifically old – and I’m not – it’s depressing. So many days. It’s like counting days of imprisonment. 

The weight of it all, just stacking and stacking up. All my poor decisions, the miscalculations, the moments of pride and selfishness and myopic thinking, the lies and stretches of truth, the college majors I started on a whim, the unhealthy relationships, the nights of drinking too much. The grief of loss and death. Just piling on me. Piling on us all. 

What would that feel like, to never start over?

Without an end and a beginning, life would feel like this. [Nothingbutbonfires.com]

The need for starting over is innate in human nature. We get tangled and unraveled over trivial things, we take on more than we can carry, and the days and years of life beat us up. Sometimes we just want to give up. Except we know that some day soon, we get to start over again. It’s such a relief. 

It really is a fork in the road. [www.seanorford.com]

This is why I love Jesus and all his talk of repentance. Repentance is turning around. It’s starting over. It’s leaving everything filthy and evil and broken and shameful at his feet and getting the beauty and glory and goodness in exchange, the wonderful things Father God intended for us to have all along. 

This is the Gospel, another word for Good News. Because it is. The starting over can happen not only every day, not only every year, but every time we ask. Every time we tell God we hate our hurtful actions, anything that separates us from him, and we let him separate that sin from us “as far as the east is from the west”. 


Now that feels light, gloriously awesome. What a way to start the year. Forgiven, sparkly clean and new.

Lamentations 3:23 says: “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”