We’re wrapping up 2011. What kind of year was it for you? Whether you party, have a big dinner, follow a custom in the country in which you live, or climb into bed at nine on New Year’s Eve, are you gonna have a happy new year?
Every year, in retrospect, seems to have flown by. Each year brings with it positive and negative. Mistakes and fabulous “I get it!” moments. Good laughs and times of tears. But here’s the thing: The negatives don’t have to make for unhappiness.
I have quite a few decades to look back on now. This wider lens view allows me to see that not only do “bad” things happen to “good” people, but all of the experiences can work for our good, if we learn from them. Now and then we need to take it on the chin. Sometimes the best lessons or beautiful blessings come by way of what we once thought was “hard.” From each experience, we can try to figure out a useful something-or-other to add to our tool kit. You know, tools like patience, faith, hope, sense of humor, persistence, or serenity.
Here are three ways I plan to work on having a happy new year [or at least, as many days as I can]:
1. COURAGE. There have been times when I’ve felt paralyzed with fear or worry. I am soooo done with that. I might not be as agile or as physically strong as I once was, but I’m tougher on the inside. My faith has grown enough, I trust, to grant me the courage needed for each hard time that comes my way.
2. JOY. I once heard that “Pleasure takes the form of “me” and “now” while joy takes the form of “us” and “always.” [Neal Am Maxwell]. I’m a huge advocate of joy. Always have been. But there’s always room for improvement. And I’m not in the market for cheap imitation. I want the real thing. The “us” and “always” thing. My hardest part is to shake off sadness when I don’t feel like doing all the things I wish I could – sometimes, that even includes making dinner or talking on the phone. Oh well. It’s time to get with the program and have even more appreciation for what I can do; not what I cannot.
3. SERVICE. Nothing is better for our souls that doing something for someone else. Little things, done with love and caring, can turn someone else around. The ripple effect of service is phenomenal. We always feel good when we do something for the other fella. And it’s so simple. Genuinely paying attention will show me some little way of helping a neighbor or an email friend. A prayer is a beautiful way to strengthen myself as I’m offering my faith and love for another. I hope to do more of it, every day.
So that’s it. I’ve enjoyed the learning times of 2011. I’ve been blessed with wonderful gifts. Like having this newly redone website [thank you again, Misty]. In a short time, a community will be added to this site, which will allow lots of people to share and chat and grow goodness. And here at Goodness Matters, we’ll soon be able to roll out a non profit, so that we can help in new and better ways. I’m counting on it being a happy new year! And I wish one for you, as well!