I’ve been thinking a lot about the ending of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Everybody is saying “Happy New Year!” but it’s become somewhat of a cliché, I think. People really don’t even think about it, they just say it. Kind of like “Hi. How are you?” EVERYBODY says it. It’s true…we want everyone to have a happy new year. It’s a new chance at life, a new chance at being happy, usually meaning happier than last year.
But guess what? We sometimes aren’t. It MAY be a better year (we certainly hope so), but it may not. So what does that say? Well, for me it says that struggle and stress, pain and endings share a bed with peace, joy and new beginnings all through our lives. Regardless of your faith walk (or lack of it), wise spiritual leaders all have thoughts along those lines – from Kalihl Gibran to the Dalai Lama to Gandhi and Jesus Christ. New years are only new chances at making changes. We see them as times to make resolutions for the new year. But those resolutions can be like diets… they are like “giving things up for Lent”. How many of them are brought to fruition? Not many I bet.
So I have been focusing on my new year being an opportunity for me to make choices – choices that involve mind over matter. Wikipedia says “mind over matter” is the belief that the mind is more powerful than the body. You might apply that to New Year’s resolutions of things like “dieting”.
But I am changing the phrase to “mind (choice) and heart (reaction) over circumstances”. I am going to try to choose to be happy or at least optimistic in the face of difficult times, recognizing the reality of pain but knowing I can seek the joy. I will choose to focus on my attitude, always remembering how very much I have to be grateful for. Making it personal. Remembering that it is far easier (or should be) to be kind than not. Remembering to look to other’s circumstances and try to understand them. Remembering to be a friend and not an enemy. Remembering to step outside my comfort zone footsteps into the footsteps where others live. Remembering most of all how fragile life is – my life – your life – my families lives – Greg’s life – and that life is too short to carry grudges, to not care. Greg said one time that when we get to heaven we are going to be asked “why did you make such a big deal out of the little things and why didn’t you make a bigger deal of the big things?”
Which brings me to my final thought. No, my final “knowing”. I cannot do all this alone. It would be a miracle. And I depend on my faith and Jesus to keep me on the right track. How else could I do it? He is much more likely to be with me than against me with such a lofty goal! And is much more likely to roll his eyes at resolutions of lesser meaning, knowing they will be shallow attempts.
So what choices can you make this new year? Who do you depend on? Who do you look to for guidance and support? Who do you look to for the unconditional love and comfort when you need it? It may not be Jesus – but I pray it is someone who will not fail you or let you down. We all need each other and we all need to be unconditionally loved when we fail.
Loving you all from way too far away, but sending hugs anyway.
May your new year be blessed beyond belief!