The idea of New Year's resolutions has been nagging at me lately. I really hate resolutions because in order to make them, I first have to make a list of all the things that are wrong with my life or at least a list of things I could be doing better. The time it would take me to make that list would take me half way to 2014. I can't think of a more depressing way to start the New Year.
However, I had an epiphany about resolutions while I was at a funeral of a man I did not know today. Charlie was an altar server for the funeral Mass. Because this was the first funeral he'd served, I decided to stay as a show of moral support. Besides, burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy.
Anyway, at the beginning of the Mass, they read a letter from the young father who had died of cancer (34 years old, preschool age kids, so sad). The gist of his message was "be kind." Individual acts of kindness have the power to change the world, he'd written.
This wasn't news to me. I've heard it before. You probably have, too. But in the context of a brain focused on New Year's resolutions, the sentiment had a lot of meaning. Suddenly, I realized perhaps why I hate New Year's resolutions so much (aside from the inevitable failure and subsequent guilt).
I thought maybe if I weren't so busy making resolutions all about me (lose 50 pounds, curse less, read more, be more organized), I would find them easier to make and keep. I'm not talking about creating resolutions for other people to keep -- I tried that once. I'm talking about using my resolutions to bring about good in my small corner of the world.
So that's my resolution -- to be a joy-spreader, a do-gooder, a kindness-sharer. I could list ways in which to make that happen (I have a few ideas already), but I'm just going to be open the opportunity to do good in some small way each day.
You know what? I'm not dreading it at all.
Happy 2013, everyone. And thanks for the new perspective, Shawn.