Most of us, I suspect, have our own long history of failed New Year’s resolutions.
At the beginning of each new year many people, including me, start out with the sincere intention of ending a bad habit and setting out to living life as we should.
Then after a day, week, or even a month, it’s back to the old habit and the same old ruts.
Real change isn’t easy, but it is possible, and no amount of wishing will bring about the necessary solutions.
In the past, I have wished I was smarter, prettier, richer, more talented, more respected, more loved, and the list goes on.
But, I have learned through experience while God has met my needs, my wants are a different story.
Then in 1989, I met a woman who would help in changing my life.
One thing she would say to me when playing a victim was: If ifs and ands were pots and pans, there’d be no work for tinkers’ hands.
Sometimes she would even modify it to: If we had the would haves, could haves, should haves, ifs, buts and popcorn…we could have a party!
Fast-forwarding to now, I’ve learned my daydreams are endless, and most of the time, don’t go anywhere.
One thing I do have today, that I didn’t have in 1989 is hope, which is a lot different than wishing because hope is grounded in a promise.
Sadly, when our son, Joey, died, I walked around feeling defeated and helpless. The pain was so intense, and I was an angry, bitter person for almost two years.
I knew I needed to eventually get to acceptance, but looking back, I see the toll it took on those who cared about me.
Some included my husband, Randy, our daughter, Tracy and my beautiful grandchildren, my brothers, Pete and Logan, and so many friends, relatives and co-workers.
I can see now how difficult I was to my editor at that time, Don Ratzlaff, to former publisher, Joel Klaassen, and our newspaper owners Joey and Lindsey Young who all stood by me.
All I can say is thank you for not giving up on me and work on being a better person.
After trying so many times to change ourselves and our situation with nothing ever getting any better, many of us will resign ourselves to thinking our fate is one of doom and gloom.
For a long time, I was beginning to think this is the way I am, the way my life will always be, and this is the way I will always be.”
But, in my experience, real change can happen when “we sing a new song.”
Music can do much for the soul, and “The Lord’s Prayer,” when put to music brought back beautiful memories of when I sang this song with my fifth-grade choir.
At that concert, I was only 10 years old, but the song gave me an inner strength, but somewhere along the way I lost that strength.
It did come back, though. and oddly, it was about two years later after Joey’s death.
No sooner was I singing that song to myself, then I thought of another song our chorus sang the same night.
The song was: “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
I didn’t even have a clear understanding of how faith was working in my life during hard times when the loneliness was almost unbearable.
Yet, with all that unmanageability in my life from a very young age, and for many years to follow, something happened.
Instead of the fears, anger, and other negative emotions, somehow, someway, a complete trust blanketed me, and it was those songs.
Another area of my life that I continue to fight off are resentments.
Someone once defined resentment as happening when we move from the happy feeling of admiration to the unhappy feeling of jealousy.
At any given time when resentments were creeping back in my life, I was blind to it.
And, if someone had dared to accuse me of it, I would have definitely been resentful of the comment.
It shouldn’t be, but along with love making the world go round, resentments do the same thing.
With 2019 just beginning, it seems that everyone is bitter about something and, of course, not without cause.
People are nursing grudges because they felt ignored, cheated, wounded, or whatever, and most of these resentments happened a long time ago.
While there may be good reasons to be resentful, I like what some of the more insightful people have to say about it.
Thomas Aquinas and others have said: “The deep root of our resentment and unhappiness lies in our inability to admire, our inability to praise others, and our inability to give others and the world a simple gaze of admiration.”
What a sad state of affairs to think we, as a society, can’t, for the most part, admire others.
It’s a lost virtue.
Jealousy plays a role in this lack of admiration, because we feel threatened by someone else’s graces and virtues when they exceed our own.
As a person who wants to continue to mature and feel secure in my own skin, my hope is to enjoy the good each day brings, and ask only to be guided to a better way.
I need to always remember that nothing is impossible with God.
And, with that, I wish everyone a Happy New Year!