As I take just a few brief moments to reflect on the closing out of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, I am reminded of a quote by Blessed Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy.
“The simplest and most practical lesson I know…is to resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow. Let us take one day only in hands, at a time, merely making a resolve for tomorrow, thus we may hope to get on taking short, careful steps, not great strides.” –Catherine McAuley
Many of us probably go through the task of making new years’ resolutions or because we have failed at them so many times, we have simply given up on setting the course for our next year. However you do or do not approach resolutions, they have been identified to make our lives better. Unfortunately, lots of times these resolutions fade away come mid to end of January. Why?
For some, these resolutions become tough to keep because they are so drastically different to the way we live our life today. We live in a society that is impatient and wants to see the change automatically. For most, the image that is used for New Years resolutions is based on a chronological image. In one minute it is 2015 and the next 2016. However, anytime we want to make changes in our lives, it takes a great deal of time.
Mother McAuley gives some great advice in trying to change our lives for the better. A better image see the transition of the New Year is to see it as a journey that begun before the year that is ending and will continue into the year that is beginning. The image of the journey is a long road that is only completed through short careful steps. When we take the short careful steps, it gives us time to focus on today and prepare for a better tomorrow.
It has been said that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. During the transition of years, we often evaluate our life. For most people, helping and caring for others is something that we do right here at home, whether it’s spending more time with your family, developing relationships to make our work better, helping people in the community, or putting your desires on hold for the sake of your family and/or your team at work. The key is to find your purpose and help others while pursuing it.
We are constantly reminded in all of the major religious traditions that our life is a journey from something….to something. As a Catholic Christian, I feel my life is always a journey from individuality to community, from isolation to reconciliation, from sickness to healing and from judgement to mercy & justice. This journey from something….to something is a journey that causes us to look deeper at ourselves and at the community we live, work and have our being within.
In the New Year, we tend to look back over the past year to see where we came from and make some projections about where we are going.
- When we look back over the years from where we came, can we project where we are going?
- In what ways can you see the progress of the journey you began a longtime ago, continuing to get better in small careful steps?
- Ask yourself what went well over the past year?
- We move so fast we forget to pause and think about the accomplishments we’ve had. Take a moment to think about what went well this past year. At work, home, school. Make a list of what went well.
- We all make our living in one way or another, but do we give back in service to others while we are doing it?
- When we see where we are going can we say that we are making a life? What are the primary movements you see in your journey?
Celebrate this list and continue to build on it in all the aspects of your life; family, friends and coworkers. When we celebrate our accomplishments and strive to do better tomorrow then we can truly have a
Happy New Year!