I write these thoughts at the start of a new year. Much of the country is blanketed in snow or shivering from a cold blast of winter’s deep freeze. As I look out the frosty window, I’m pondering how hard it is to venture forth outside into the brisk cold. Many times we feel that way about leaving the familiar year we’ve settled into and entering the unknown year that stretches ahead.

What does this year hold? Will we be strong enough to meet its challenges? Will it be an uphill climb, or will it be a gentle walk? Like a field of freshly fallen snow, there are no footsteps yet to mark a trail or indicate a well-traveled path. We sense we will be making the path for ourselves. While this can be unsettling for its mystery, it can also be exciting. An untraveled path invites newness, adventure, wonder, hope: Who might I become this year? What new dimensions of my soul might emerge? What opportunities for generosity, kindness, and great-heartedness will present themselves?

There are people as yet unknown that we will meet this year who will change us and be changed by us. There are encounters and conversations with God that will mark our spirit and guide our way. There are graces awaiting us as God calls us to become our truest self. A new year can be both daunting and refreshing. A new year offers us another chance, a kind of do-over, to live more fully what we most believe, what we know really matters, and become that person we are longing to be.

How do YOU want to live this year? How will you be better? What fresh tracks will you make?