Here we are in the season of resolutions –either making them or breaking them. I tend not to make resolutions — they are too much about my faults and not at all about my strengths. Still, January is a good time to take stock of the year just past and plan for the year to come. So . . .
- I want to write more — what author doesn’t?
- Exercise more — I complain about my knees, but they might work better if I made them move more.
- Look after my health. . .
The above are more wishes than resolutions. I’ve made them before.
No, this year I want to focus on appreciation. I want to tune in to the good in my fellow beings.
A few years ago I began a collection of good news stories for December. It was great fun and some of you contributed your own stories to help cheer us all. I didn’t do that this year, but I did remark on several occasions that I had received exceptional service from store clerks, food servers, health workers, and others. With the nightly news full of stories about labour shortages and supply chain problems, these cheery, helpful, charming people brightened my life. They were the Spirit of Christmas, however brief the encounter.
The travails of the world are horrifying and endless. We all try to help, but, no matter how much aid is collected, people are still hungry.
The war in Ukraine grinds on despite the resolve and courage of the Ukrainian people and the support of Western nations.
Homelessness in our cities continues to increase.
The pandemic seems to have unleashed a torrent of rage, fear and isolationism. The need on all sides is crushing.
So, when a clerk goes above and beyond, her small action raises my spirits exponentially. When a stranger lets me pat his dog, I relish the connection. When a reader says, “I liked your story,” I’m over the moon.
The classic Christmas movies, like “Wonderful Life,” and “Miracle on 34th Street” have one thing in common — they touch the heart. Not all Christmas offerings on the screen do that — they go through the motions but don’t stir the soul. Kind of like my New Year’s wishes — desire without commitment. For 2023 I’m on the look out for moments of real connection.
For some time I kept a gratitude journal, inspired by Ann Voskamp — detailing every day the many blessings that warmed my soul. Finding items for that journal was actually pretty easy. This year, I’m making a new list. For 2023 I’m keeping my eyes open for human encounters that enrich my life. I’ll enjoy the moment as it happens and again as I write it down.
As we recover from the isolation of COVID-19, it is important to recognize the goodness of others. We’ve been afraid long enough.
Happy New Year, dear readers. May the days of 2023 be filled with positive encounters, good stories, and a happy heart.