Resolution or peaceful revolution?
TBO.comSome partied so hard they erased New Year's Eve and Jan. 1. Many watched the ball drop in Times Square and felt their hearts sink with it, especially this year, the beginning of 2013. Habitual resolution-makers, sensing insecurity, may not feel their usual zeal.
Published: January 4, 2013
Published: January 4, 2013
Even Oprah said, "2012 kicked my butt." She was speaking mainly of the failure of her new TV network, OWN, to take off as planned. But, "failure" is not in her vocabulary. Instead, she is asking, "What can I learn from this?" Maybe answering that question is close enough to resolution; it certainly requires resolve to ask it when things appear so dark.
Almost everything Congress tackled the past year was described as "dire." Until the so-called 11th hour, the "fiscal cliff" loomed. Some financial experts predict the greatest depression of all time.
Even if Congress finds compromises, we perch on the edge of more than one cliffhanger: the annihilation of the middle class, continued humiliation of the poor and sick and frustration of older retirees who must live on meager funds and count on the ever-threatened Medicare and Social Security.
Congress is a microcosm of us. When overwhelmed, they stall by vacationing, filibustering, secluding themselves and taking turns seeing who can insult the most constituents. Several times in the last couple of years, we've been told that "Washington is shut down."
Shutting down in our personal lives brings forced change. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently funded an expansive global study on life expectancy and health threats. The biggest health risk worldwide is now high blood pressure, a partly stress-induced "silent" killer. The U.S. Census Bureau's description of the slow-growth of our population blames stress causers: depression, economy, aging population, lower fertility rates.
Change comes. It is better to choose it for ourselves than to wait for others to take over our lives. In an article for The Chicago Tribune, Dahleen Glanton wrote that many baby boomers fear that their children and grandchildren will not value the family treasures — that, in fact, they see the "treasures" as junk tying them down. All of us might ask, "What can I learn from this?" One lesson might be to clean up our stuff, letting go of sentimentality, before we find ourselves sitting in the middle of it — alone.
Asking "What can I learn from this?" is not one more resolution to be dropped after New Year's. It is a courageous act that will bring about personal, peaceful revolution. It represents the meaning of this well-known prayer, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."
Microsoft Network offers healthy living tips. Here's one to help us from the nation of Turkey: "Distract your brain from whatever's riling it up." How?
The great writer-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson defined "revolution" as "a thought in one man's mind." If that thought embodies "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5), we will truthfully answer: "What can I learn from this?"
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If we seek simple truth, we can find it together—side-by-side. Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.