As the old ends and the new begins, lots of people are making promises to themselves of how they want their lives to change in 2017. I’m not one of them, because my track record on all of this is less than exemplary. I’ve been told that my experience is not unique, that many of these commitments are broken within a few days.
So this year, I’m following the wisdom of one of my mentors, Richard Rohr, as he writes in his devotional for year’s end:
“If you want others to be more loving toward you, choose to love first.”
“If you want a peaceful outer word, reconcile your own inner world.”
“If you are tired of cynicism and negativity our there, cultivate hope in here.”
“If you wish to find stillness in the world, find the calm within yourself.”
And then Father Rohr concludes with the words of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I want desperately for the world to be more loving, for peace to prevail over violence, for negative words to be replaced by images of hope, and for a sacred silence to give us time to remember that we’re all in this together. Maybe it’s time for Russ Clark to become what he wants the nation and the world to be. Whether that’s called a resolution or not, will you join me?
Some of us are apprehensive about 2017, fearing that our culture is slipping into a chasm of calamity. We wonder if we’ve chosen the right leaders to lead our nation and the world into the future. We want to have hope and to believe that we can build a better world, where peace, compassion, and justice are the air to breathe and the north star to guide.
In my morning reading, I came across this prayer, “God, let me be someone who leans into the future.” I like that, and I need that message. Too often I have dreaded what is ahead, and I’ve blamed my fear on the tragedies and losses of my life, when dreams were shattered and promises broken. Of course, I could also blame Vietnam for planting a dark imprint on my mind, but I refuse to do so. The war left its mark, as everyone should know by now, but it also reinforced in me a will to live and to create something good out of even the worst.
So the months ahead beckon to me and I’m already feeling my body, mind, and spirit surging forward, bolstered by a faith that the Lord is blazing the trail I am to walk. Please come with me!
Here’s a wish for all veterans and those who love them. May 2017 be a year of peace for all of us, and may there be no tears of farewell or grief among those who’ve been called to defend freedom around the world.