Every New Year is like a second chance at life.
It’s the starting gate. We all collectively take a deep breath, wait for the metaphorical starter’s pistol to fire at twelve midnight, and declare to the world the ways we are going to be better as we rush off into 2014.
The old standard resolutions that find their way onto everyone’s list:
- lose weight
- quit smoking
- quit drinking
- connect with friends
- eat healthier
- learn something new
- get organized
- finish projects
I have a few that conform to these catagories:
- learn a new language
- love better
- maintain my weight loss
- add weights to my daily routine
- get the roof replaced
- finish a long-term craft project
But there’s one resolution that ranks far above all of these and I don’t normally see it pop up in the standard early January conversations:
The old adage goes, we’re given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Actually I like this one better…God, give me the strength to keep my mouth shut!
How I struggle with that one.
It’s not that I’m a complainer. I’m a fixer. I see problems and I want them fixed. Like a wounded person on the side of the highway, I’m not content to drive by, utter the words, “poor thing”, and then zoom off into the horizon. I see people hurting and I want to act.
You know how the news reporters interview that one guy…the one who jumps into icy river water to save people from drowning? How that guy, when asked why he jumped in, just looks at the reporter somewhat bewildered and says, “I don’t know. I didn’t think about it. It was just the thing to do.”
I am that guy.
Having Son #1 tempered me somewhat. I felt I could no longer rescue the world because I had to rescue him first. But many nights I would wake up panting, in a cold sweat, having experienced a nightmare where I had to make a choice between saving Son #1 and Husband #1. Yeah, this was back in the time when I loved them equally and fiercely.
Now it’s an easy decision. I might even stop to make a bag of popcorn before saving Husband #1. It only takes 4 minutes….
(I obviously have to add “work on forgiving Husband #1” to my resolution list. But then again, laughter is the best medicine)
Back to listening better, the resolution I actuallly have a hope of succeeding with…
Husband #2 told me he was leaving in 2012. Or at least that’s what he says. I didn’t hear it that way. I only heard he was leaving when he actually left in 2013.
Yeah, sometimes the word “Clueless” comes to mind when I think of myself.
The thing is, I’m such a believer in second chances that I asked our pastor to make our marriage sermon about just that…two people getting another opportunity to do things right in marriage…this time around.
Starting each new year is like getting a clean slate. But if you’ve ever been the naughty kid who had to stay after school to clean the blackboards, you know there is no such thing as a “clean” slate. It’s cleaner, but tiny little bits of chalk stick to the surface of the blackboard and once it is written on, it is never completely clean again.
That’s what we are — not quite clean blackboards. No matter how much we want to scrub away our pasts, little pieces of chalk dust stick to us and make it impossible to move forward without dragging some of our mistakes into the future. When you think about it, all those past scribblings make us the messy scruff we are today. I guess it will just be easier to recognize we are all products of our past and that gives us an opportunity to be better in the future.
I will strive to be worthy of the second chances I am given in 2014.