There’s a lot of hype surrounding the beginning of a new year and the annual question of making resolutions. There was a time in my non-growing-slowly-self-destructing-years that I would curse the thought of any kind of resolutions that were doomed to fail through lack of discipline and unrealistic expectations. I would look at it as a big joke:
Fitness centers must be drooling on this New Year beginning knowing how many people will join and only a minority will stick it out………But I’ve changed. There’s ongoing healing, hope, wisdom, understanding and joy in living each day, growing in seeing the simplest of occurrences as miracles and sources of wonder.
Therefore, I do have New Year’s resolutions, but they are simple and all that I need:
1) To pray daily that I may be able to live as much in the present as possible, not fearful from the past or anxious about the future—to have that child-like wonder, not missing the mysteries of all that surrounds me;
2) To be able to read at least 5 life-giving readings a week from a host of tried and true sources, and stay as open as possible to new material that will be given me when I need it the most. With these two resolutions I believe I will be sustained and blessed to both hear and act for my growth and others.
To this end, and since I have this New Year’s day off with more time for reflection and sharing, let me give you three reflections I read this morning for this New Years beginning. Take what works and leave the rest.
The first is from Melody Beattie’s book, ‘The Language of Letting Go’ (Hazelden, 1990)
The New Year: January 1st ~ Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come. Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction.
What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed? What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?
Remember, we aren’t controlling others with our goals–we are trying to give direction to our life. What problems would you like to see solved” What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?” What would you like to see happen inside and around you? Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your times, and write it all down–as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go. Certainly, things happen that are out of our control. Sometimes, these events are pleasant surprises; sometimes, they are of another nature. But they are all part of the chapter that will be this year in our life and will lead us forward in the story. The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
Today, I will remember that there is a powerful force motivated by writing down goals. I will do that now, for the year to come, and regularly as needed. I will do it not to control but to do my part in living my life.
My second January 1st reading is from Earnie Larsen and Carol Larsen Hegarty’s book, “Days of Healing, Days of Joy” (Hazelden, 1987).
“You are loved. If so, what else matters? –Edna St. Vincent Millay
It is a critical task of recovery to get our priorities in order and keep them that way. Sometimes as we trudge the path of recovery, we find that our priorities have gotten out of whack. We can overextend ourselves in our efforts to learn to play, exercise, develop a prayer life, or acquire some of the material things what may have been missing from our lives for so many years.
As worthwhile as all of these efforts may be, they all work toward the same goal of helping us be people more capable of love. If we are truly loved and capable of functioning in loving relationships, what else really matters? What else is there? We may never have all the things we once thought were justly owed us, we may never be as able to play as we think we should, we many never know all we think we should know. But if we are able to glory in and share in the love around us, then we shall have found the key which makes life worth living. What’s important to me is changing. My wants are becoming fewer as I realize that my needs are already met.
Lastly, a unique book composed of what some may refer to as stories of fate or coincidence, while other would call them miracles. Hence the title: “Small Miracles, Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life” by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal (1997, Adams Media Corporation).
Allen Falby, an El Paso Country Highway patrolman, and Alfred smith, a businessman, met for the first time on a hot June night when Falby crashed his motorcycle. He was racing down the road to overtake a speeding truck when the vehicle slowed down to make a turn. Unaware that the truck was slowing, Falby slammed full throttle into its tailgate. The crack-up demolished the cycle and nearly amputated one of Galby’s legs.
As he lay in agony on the pavement, a pool of blood began to form beneath his shattered limb. He had ruptured an artery in his leg and was bleeding to death. It was then that fate brought Falby and Smith together. Smith had been driving home along the road when he saw the accident. Shaken but alert, he was out of his car and bending over the badly injured man almost before the sound of the impact died on the night air. Smith wasn’t a doctor but could see what had to be done for the dying patrolman. Whipping of his tie, Smith quickly bound Falby’s leg in a crude tourniquet. It worked. The flow of blood slackened to a trickle and then stopped entirely When the ambulance arrived a few minutes later, Smith learned for the first time that he had saved Falby’s life.
Five years later, around Christmas, Falby was on highway night patrol when he received a radio call from headquarters to investigate an accident along U.S. 80. A car smashed into a tree. A man was in serious condition, and an ambulance was on the way. Falby reached the wreck well before the ambulance. Pushing his way past a group of frightened bystanders, he found the injured man slumped unconscious across the torn car seat. The man’s right pants leg was saturated and sticky with blood. He had severed a major artery and was bleeding to death. Well trained in first aid, Falby quickly applied a tourniquet above the ruptured artery. When the bleeding stopped, he pulled the man from the car and made him more comfortable on the ground. That’s when Falby recognized the victim. He was Alfred Smith, the man who had saved his own life five years before.
Fate had brought the two men together again–and both meetings had been for the same purpose: for one man to save the life of the other in exactly the same way. “Well,” Falby told Doug Storer of the National Tattler; who first reported the story, “you might say, it all goes to prove that one good tourniquet deserves another!”
Comment: When passing someone in need of help, people frequently think: “I’m busy, let someone else stop; it doesn’t have to be me.” But what if the person who needs the help is really you, only the time hasn’t come yet for you to see that so clearly?