Each day is an opportunity to make the world a better place

As I opened my eyes one morning last week, I looked out over a beautiful landscape: snow falling, a white cap on the railing, misty ponds in the background; a sky that was gray, but hinted of something better. The snow highlights the beauty and seems to mask that which is ugly. It smoothes out the hard edges. It dampens the noise. It reduces life to a simpler equation, but only briefly.
Life is not simple. It is a complicated web of what has been and what will be. There is a constant battle between what we want and what comes to pass.

The past is fixed. What we have said and done cannot be undone. The sum of past events has become the basis of the future. The here and now is what it is. The baggage of the past creates real and imagined constraints on our actions.

But, we stand at the threshold of a new start. As dawn breaks with the morning, each day starts afresh. This week gives special emphasis to that notion; at the stroke of midnight on Friday, a New Year begins.

I have spent much of the past year striving for a balance that has seemed elusive, present for fleeting moments, but somehow ephemeral. Perhaps, it is in the wanting too hard that makes for the disappointment.

I do not know what the New Year will bring. I want it to bring happiness for me and for those I love; to bring hope to those that are suffering from the economic downturn; and to comfort those deployed at war. However, I also know this may not be the case.

A prayer for the New Year: “God, grant us the… Serenity to accept things we cannot change; Courage to change the things we can, and the Wisdom to know the difference. Patience for the things that take time; Appreciation for all that we have; and Tolerance for those with different struggles; Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways; the Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless..”

I have not always known the difference between what I can and cannot affect, but I want to keep trying. Circumstances may be constrained by what has been done, but the day is composed of the choices we each make now.

Today I choose to act differently, not to allow the missteps of the past dictate what must happen next. Whether this will make things “right” I have no idea, but to act otherwise is to accept that outcomes are inevitable. I reject such a notion.

We do have the freedom to choose, as well as to accept. I hope the choices we make from this point forward bring peace and serenity to those around us, to that they make a difference in the outcomes our community and country face.

I fervently hope our leaders find the courage this year to do what is so hard for them, to deviate from the path of political expediency, and truly try to solve some of the problems our country is facing. Partisan political demagoguery is the hand maiden of national decline.

Such hope applies not just to New Year’s Day. Like our attempts to follow through with our resolutions, we must renew our efforts each day to have any hope of accomplishing our plans.

In a very real sense, the trite comment, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” is true. What will we make of each day of this New Year? Only time will tell.

God bless and have a Joyous and Happy New Year.

Written New Year 2011


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