Pondering the ‘New’ Year

Pondering the 'New' Year

The New Year 2020 is nearly upon us. Perhaps there’s more significance to it than simply a calendar turnover this time around, though. The term 20/20 is often used for measuring our visual acuity. Receiving a 20/20 diagnosis from an optometrist is good news for us, as it connotes that our vision is ‘perfect’. The term is also used more broadly relative to our ability to fully see the reality of a situation or in a person. Either way, it’s about the clarity of the ‘lens’ with which we see the world around us.

More often than not, we greet each New Year with long lists of behavioral resolutions. We see these kinds of promised external changes as visual markers for how we critically envision ourselves and others. If we’re honest, though, the vast majority of us never keep these resolutions. And the changes that we seek are most often superficial to the human eye. Like merely getting stronger lens on the same glasses.

But what if we resolved to do something far more visually profound and systemic in 2020? Then chose to look at ourselves and at others with a fresh, new lens for a change? What if we decided that our discoveries in the New Year should be far less about seeking new journeys, new landscapes, and new experiences. And conversely, far more about seeing our present journeys with New Eyes. So maybe, just maybe, 2020 isn’t really about living without– but rather Living With! In that spirit, I invite you to ponder the following questions in the New Year ahead:

Living with Questions

What if some questions in life may never be clearly or entirely answered for us? But what if living with these questions was actually more powerful than having the answers? For we are informed by answers, but we’re enlightened with wisdom and meaning when we remain in the ‘questions’ themselves.

Living with Imprecision

What if things just happen at times, both good and bad, without any real, plausible explanation in life? And what if we got better at accepting that? For when we lose the need to explain, manage, and control everything around us, we let go a little more in life—and lose the weighty burden that we’ve so unfairly placed on ourselves.

Living with Imperfection

What if we’ll never be perfect, no matter how hard we try? No matter how stridently we strive for it? In any event, the path of progress is far more important than the destination. And the true richness of life lies in our continuing ‘milestones’, not in our concluding ‘arrivals’.

 Living with Impermanence

What if nothing is ‘forever’, except for our own inner light and love? Except for our God-given soul and everlasting energy? People and things may come and go. But God wants to come and stay, provide grace to us, and love us. Permanently and continuously.

 Living with Inclusivity

What if there’s not just One Way? The one and only one? What if we weren’t so scared of other possible ways in life? For, in truth, wondering about and exploring new ways might be the very best thing we can do. Staying open to new and different possibilities may actually save our life, especially when we feel the urge to cling most tightly onto the ‘one way’ that we’ve always followed in the past.

Living with Silence

What if silence was not the enemy, not a void, nor a ‘prison sentence’ of felt loneliness? And what if praying to God involved a lot more quietude and listening, instead of simply our talking? Embracing a meditative silence every so often might give us a deeper sense of God’s real presence, not simply God’s ‘presents’. A more profound sense of God’s love in us, not simply God’s gifts to us.

Living with Mindfulness

What if we lived more ‘mindfully’ in the present moment more often? And let go of yesterday and tomorrow and even later today in our lives? For when we live more fully in the present moment, we live in the one moment that matters most. The one moment that might heal the most. Comfort the most. Inform the most. Strengthen the most. Love us the most. Simply because we created an open space for God to enter.

Living with Ourselves

What if we believed in ourselves for a change, not just in the stories that the world wants us to believe? And not all the harmful noise and self-inflicted racket? Or, at a minimum, not so uncritically and unconditionally inviting these unhelpful things into our lives to our own detriment? Because living better with ourselves might empower us to be better, more loving, fulfilled selves.

Living with Constancy

What if there’s one constant in the face of life’s many passing people and things? One being who always cares, who always comforts, and who’s always ready to enter into us more fully? Sometimes quietly, even imperceptibly. But always in loving friendship and accompaniment. God brings lasting, living hope—no matter what our varied and changing circumstances seem to be.

Living with Joy

What if joy was far more powerful than simple happiness? A joyful grounding in knowing who and what we are. Based on a deep, abiding sense of peace and purpose in our lives. And driven by a deeper, far more meaningful connection to our loving Source each day… whatever may come our way. We can rejoice in our happy moments, but we cannot live on them. For these moments are fleeting in life. Therefore, in all things, hold onto joy. You’ll receive more lasting peace and comfort in return.

Living with Hope

What if hope was possible even when there’s no readily apparent reason to hold onto it in the face of loss, setback, disappointment, sickness, or even death? What if we found hope in a God who’s created a world where all things and all lives are forever sacred and loved? Held out a steadfast hope that keeps us open to the future, whatever it might be? A hope for new beginnings, even in the face of endings? This kind of hope brings us closer to God. Resurrects our spirits. And holds us all together… today, tomorrow, next week, next year, next decade. Forever.

Living with Love

What if love was stronger than anything else in this world, even at a time when hatred, mistrust, separation, estrangement, division, and violence seem to negatively abound around us? What if everything in God’s creation holds the seed of love within it, just waiting for the opportunity to bud and flourish? We need not work as hard as we might think to foster greater love… if we’ll simply get out of the way more often in our lives. Then remember that our many seemingly small acts of kindness can grow abundantly if we’ll simply ask God to work in them and in us in the service of greater love.

 

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