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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Epiphany from a stranger's funeral

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.


Eileen said...

You are already a joy-spreader, Amy. But I guess there's always more to go around. Cheers to 2013's kindnesses, my friend!

Eternal Lizdom said...

I like the idea of a resolution that isn't "me-centric." I generally like that in most anything - like prayer, for example.

Great post.

kimybeee said...

i too don't do resolutions. i think they are a waste of time. if you can't do those things all the time, then why stick them on a list on january 1st and put undue importance on them for a little while.

i try to be a better person everyday - to be supportive and positive and let my faith be an inspiration to others without being a pushy know it all lol

happy 2013 to the magans - i think charlie's "service" to the church is benefitting his mama more than she expected!!!

Mrs4444 said...

I approach Lent the same way- What can I start doing, not what do I have to stop doing. I think it's more likely that we'll be open to positivity like that. Good luck :)

@tracystevenson said...

Love love love this resolution. I also love that a man you didn't know affected you through a letter he wrote that was read at his funeral which you were attending to support someone who was in service. I say that's love and kindness full circle. God bless the young mans family.

Unknown said...

What a great goal to work toward, and it's so simple. And what a powerful message to leave behind for his family. Through it, his memory will live on, even though you didn't even know him.

Beth Zimmerman said...

You are naturally an encourager, supporter, hope spreader! Loved this post and I love you! Thanks for being there!

Janet said...

Great post.

My resolutions tend to be things like "eat healthier" (note I didn't say healthy)

One thing I am doing this month is 55 random acts of kindness in honor of my 55th birthday. I'm going to get my 12- and 14-year-old daughters involved so we can all have fun together!