We are already into the second day of this new year, 2017. Years seem to drag at times and seem to speed at times. The beginning of each new year is typically that time when we plan what we think we want to accomplish in the coming time allotted to us, even though the idea that we’ll really stick to our plan is ofttimes fleeting.
I did complete a “read the Bible in a Year” challenge in the past year, and, frankly, that was one of few things I had planned that actually worked almost as planned. Albeit with a few days of catch-up reading here and there to get back on track. The reading for today offered by my church home is taken from Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, a book which is attributed to Soloman who is among the wisest of humans in history. It goes like this and seems most appropriate as we enter into a new calendar year:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
As we enter this new year, we ought to take a bit of time to reflect on the year just passed, but not to dwell…only to reflect. Dwelling in the past does none of us much good. There are things in each of our pasts which we wish were not there. We have been wronged in the past but we need to forgive and ‘get on with getting on’. We have wronged others in the past but we need to apologize and ‘get on with getting on’. Ideally, and that almost seems to sometimes be an impossibility for us, we would grow, we would become better beings with each year that passes. We will, almost without doubt, experience good and not-so-good happenings in 2017. The idea is to absorb the experience without it changing who we are other than for helping us to mend errant ways and avoid making the same mistakes again. Thank goodness we were never expected to be perfect; to the contrary, our maker knew we would fail over and over again; BUT we are expected to learn from our past and to earnestly and honestly seek forgiveness.
Just as we are forgiven, we are expected to forgive others. There is the Golden Rule that Mom or Dad or a Sunday School teacher might have taught us about. “So in everything do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Very simply stated, we are to treat others as we’d like them to treat us. That doesn’t always seem to work exactly as envisioned, but it is what we are expected to do as we course through this life. I have encountered those for whom this rule does not seem to exist, or if it does it seems very seldom employed. I tend to gravitate away from those people rather than to continue to give them the opportunity to raise my hackles.
I find that I am not in control, certainly not absolute control at least, of my life. No matter my plans, there seems something that pops up to make changes in those plans. Sometimes the change is minor and sometimes it serves to totally demolish the plan. As I grow older, I tend to accept that this will happen and I make the changes necessary to ‘get on with getting on’ rather than to fret and stew over who or what made me make the changes.
I have learned, albeit not as quickly as I wished would’ve been the case, that there are battles, large or inconsequential, which I will not ‘win’ as I would’ve defined winning. Many of those happenings have later, however, become the drivers of an “aha moment” when I am finally able to find that thought that shows I really did ‘win’ because that which I deemed a loss was really a gift to me; I was simply too ignorant at the time to be able to see how I had won. That is one of the gifts of the aging process if we will but accept that gift. Yes, there are increasing aches and pains and maladies, but there is also that gift of experience and forgiveness if we will but accept it as a gift.
So, we begin a new year. Politically we have a new President and a solid Republican Congress. Those of us who are of the conservative persuasion have great hopes for the coming year, but we do have the need to recognize that we’ll not be ‘victorious’ in every quest. As time passes, we may be given the gift of seeing just how we did benefit from what seemed a loss at the time.
But we’ll need to remember:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. We may need to search for the blessing hidden in the loss, but there will be a blessing at one point or another that will surface and provide us with another ‘aha moment’. May we be given the wisdom to remain courteous in our discourse even if that discourse is not something all would wish to hear or read. I will strive for that in this years’ writings, but please forgive me if I fail from time-to-time from your perspective.
“As time passes, we may be given the gift of seeing just how we did benefit from what seemed a loss at the time.”