Daufuskie Island; SC
“ . .Be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that (will) diminish our usefulness to others.” - William Wilson
“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” - John Lennin
Another Christmas is past, and suddenly we find that yet another year is almost behind us. For many of us, this is a time of reflection and planning. We look back at the previous year with its trials and successes. Of course we want to learn the lessons of the past and carry the knowledge forward with us, but it is easy to beat ourselves up and fall into a sick pattern of thinking. It is also the time we start looking to the New Year – making course adjustments and plans for the 365 days that will be called 2014. Here again we can torture ourselves – allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed by obsessing about the obstacles we will have to work through and the challenges we don’t feel we are fit to face.
When we look back to learn the lessons of the past, we need not flagellate ourselves for not performing as hind-sight so clearly shows we should have. Alternately, it is just as harmful to engage in prideful thinking for the things that went the way we wanted them to. If the foundation of our reflection is a basis of gratitude it goes much better. We can be grateful for the year we had and that we still have another chance today to connect with God as we understand it to be and start following the path laid out for us. And if we have someone we trust whom we can discuss the trials we faced we can get some detached perspective.
Alternately, when planning it is easy to err to in many different directions. Making grandiose resolutions will serve nothing but to put us in a position of rigid thinking. It often becomes a no-win situation. If we fail at the resolutions we mercilessly beat ourselves up. And if we succeed at the resolutions we cook up even greater plans, falling into the trap of being addicted to “more” of whatever makes us feel we are not inadequate. Again, asking God to participate in our planning and running them by a wise and trusted other pays dividends.
Maybe this year we can do something different. Maybe we can pray that the spirit gives us a general road-map of where we should be heading and then ask for the direction to be able to follow the path and the strength to persevere. And maybe we can think a bit about those we know who did not have any family around for the holidays, or those who are facing medical or financial traumas. Visiting or having someone over for a meal who is in these circumstances is sure to give us a bit of the gratitude we need to be able to engage in realistic reflection and planning. And who knows – perhaps the result of our efforts in being a friend to those who we reach out to will end up being our biggest accomplishment of the year – whether we ever end up realizing it or not.
Have a great Thursday