The Year: God's Joke

I think God made the year as a joke. At least that is my assertion. He made it to frustrate and bamboozle all of us who like things neat and orderly. Especially those of us who think we are in control of our lives. And nowhere is this more evident than in the rhythm of the year. It just doesn’t fit into my control. For one thing, I can’t even get the months right. First I tried the “Hand Method” for calculating days of the month. Every upraised knuckle is 31 days and all the rest are something less. But I can never remember where to start. And then there is the song: 

“30 days hath September

April, June and November

All the rest have 31

Except February…” 

Kind of leaves me hanging. And I’m not really alone in this. When I started to research the dating of historical events, I realized that the year has been a struggle for human beings for, well… years. We’ve tried using solar calendars and lunar calendars, but no matter what we do, we end up having to fudge the year. It’s not that we don’t know what a year is. It’s that it doesn’t work out in nice simple terms. It is something like 365.24219 days depending on which calendar you use. And that is just an average. For simplicity’s sake, we calculate the year as 12 months or 365 days. But that means we have to do a little creative juggling. Something like adding a few extra days to a month every few years. Or adding a bonus month every so often. Otherwise, Christmas would eventually slide into summer and Thanksgiving into Spring. I’ve had Christmas in New Zealand. And I don’t really like it. The sweat stains on Santa’s red suit are not pretty. As for adding extra days, why do they have to be in February, the darkest coldest month in the Northern Hemisphere? Obviously the genius behind this move was from Brazil. He wanted more time at the beach.

When I think about it, my whole life is moved by this gargantuan rotation of the year. And I’ve lived unknowingly to its rhythm since I was born. I just follow it. And any attempt to simplify it or corral it doesn’t really work. Its very irregularity breaks my illusion of control. Ignores me with my puny watch and calendar. Laughs at me. And if nothing else convinces me that I should pay attention to the rhythms of day and night, weeks and season, then the year is a final sign. I have no control over it. God has it. And he’s not sharing.