Doesn’t it seem like that is the mantra these days? As we approach the New Year with the highlights of 2022 and the expected resolutions for 2023, the barrage of chatter feels so recycled. From the “lives well lived” to the weight loss meal programs to the gym memberships, etc., etc., etc., - each annual turning feels like rinse & repeat. Doesn’t it exhaust you? It does me.
Perhaps because I am getting older, I desire more than just the same old, same old. I long for something new. I long for something fresh. I long for something meaningful, something that will really make the world a better place. Not that a healthier diet and exercise plan won’t have a positive impact but has it really changed us if we’ve gone back to the same old bad habits by June? I’m talking about real, sustainable transformation.
What will 2023 look like for us? I can’t say I’m that hopeful that the political climate will become less divisive; or that we will take steps to chip away at the refugee explosion around the world; or that we will move towards better treatment of our earth; or that racial, economic or mental health injustices will be addressed. I could go on and on in the ways I don’t feel hopeful about our world today. That’s not really the New Year’s message anyone wants to hear, is it?
So maybe I’m hoping for transformation and renewal in the wrong places. If there is one tiny nugget of wisdom I’ve acquired over these past 50+ years of life it is that the only change that can happen is within. I can only change me; you can only change you. But if we are willing to do that – change ourselves – then maybe, just maybe, we can begin to effect change in our world. Not huge changes – that is asking for too much. But tiny changes. Changes like being a smidge kinder at the grocery store. Changes like opening the door for someone else. Changes like not thinking everything is about me. Changes like allowing someone the space to have a bad day. Changes like allowing someone the chance to make a mistake. Changes like maybe allowing room for others to change. I could go on and on.
I don’t know…I guess the ministry at APTB has really shown me the impact of tiny, small allowances that offer presence and acceptance and real, genuine care. Given that, I’ve seen folks soften their rigid edges, open their hearts and consent to love. I’ve been so blessed to see such transformation in people and groups that I truly believe it is possible. There lies my hope for 2023.
Now, does that mean I’m not going to try to eat better, exercise more and get healthier? By no means! This aging body needs all those things to stay on track! But I guess it does mean that I’m going to put most of my intention into my interactions with others; that I’ll keep working on getting out of the way so that the Spirit can flow through me into…whatever it needs to; that I’ll keep reminding myself to let go of control and surrender to what is, trusting that it is enough for now. And I’ll keep leaning into my friends and family, both at APTB and beyond, to help me along the way. And in all this, perhaps there will be room for the new, for the new, the fresh, the meaningful – whatever will help the world become a better version of what it is today.
Happy New Year, my dear friends!