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Reflections, Not Resolutions

by Rev. Mark Connolly

Almost everyone reflects at this time about the New Year. We make resolutions that we often break. We make promises to ourselves that we don't often keep. And most of us go back to the rituals that we had practiced during the past year. We are creatures of habit and old habits are hard to break and new ones hard to cultivate.

But what we have to keep in mind from one year to the next is that we do grow, we do reflect in a different way from one year to the next. Things in life rarely stay the same. Life is change. Each new year reminds us that the things and thoughts of the past are often not the same as the things and thoughts of the present.

And when you think of it, because our lives and circumstances of life change almost every year, is there any great wisdom in making our "New Year Resolutions"?

If you look at so many of the religious leaders of the past so many of them concentrated on what is called the "now moment". Christ reminded us of the importance of the "now moment" when he said give us this day our daily bread, reminding us God will give us the help we need for the problems of each day. He constantly spoke about the fact of worrying over tomorrow's trouble. Christ, in effect, said, you have enough problems to contend with, don't drag the problems of the past or the problems of the future into today's living. When he said sufficient for the day is the evil thereof, he was saying you have enough to contend with today, forget about yesterday and tomorrow.

We all know we have to plan for major events in our lives. Whether it is planning for a job change or the educational future of our children, there will always be a need to plan. But this doesn't negate the value of living one day at a time. Sometimes life is one hour at a time. The people who have had the problem of alcoholism and then achieved sobriety will tell you of the value of taking one day at a time.

Another aspect of making 1998 a more enjoyable year is not only recognizing the value of the "now moment" but also appreciating the value and importance of doing little things for yourself and others.

In the eyes of the world that telephone call you make on behalf of a lonely person, that little card you send to a sick person, these little things enrich your life and the lives of those who receive what is "a little thing." If you recall, many years ago there was a song about little things. And one of the verses of that song went something like this: "blow me a kiss from across the room, drop me a line every day, a line a day when you are far away, little things mean a lot." The song was written years ago, but its words are still as important.

There really is no series of resolutions that if practiced are going to make this year happier than the past. Life changes, our circumstances change too often.

How then can 1998 be a happier year? First,by recognizing the importance of the now moment, the importance of today. The second way to make 1998 a happier year is developing the importance of little things that are done as often as you can do them on a daily basis.

If you cultivate your sense of humor, if you recognize the importance of taking one day at a time, if you recognize the importance of doing little things, 1998 will be a very good year for you, your family and others.

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