by Father Mark Goldasich
Ah, the month of January. It’s a time devoted to cramming advice down your throat as to what will make the new year glorious.
There are all sorts of “miracle” diets and nifty exercise equipment. Numerous gyms are offering “new year specials for a new you.” (I actually joined one this week, since signing up was only $1. I’m sure that I’ll be writing more on this adventure later in the year . . . if I survive.)
Want to eat better? There are any number of home-delivery services providing all you need to prepare “easy,” delicious, healthy cuisine. Heck, I even saw a commercial for a company that will measure your telomeres and give you your “actual body age” — usually older than your chronological age, as you’ve not taken as good of care of yourself as you should. (This is meant, no doubt, to scare you into better living!)
The internet is full of advice as well. The best that I saw featured thoughts from “old people.” Here’s some of what they had to say:
- You might live a long life, or you might live a short one — who knows? But either way, trust me when I say that you’re going to wish you took better care of yourself in your youth.
- People always say, “Make sure you get a job doing what you love!” But that isn’t the best advice. The right job is the job you love some days, tolerate most days, and still pays the bills. Almost nobody has a job they love every day.
- If you’re getting overwhelmed by life, just return to the immediate present moment and savor all that is beautiful and comforting. Take a deep breath; relax.
- A true friend will come running at 2 a.m. Everyone else is just an acquaintance.
- Nobody ever dies wishing they had worked more. Work hard, but don’t prioritize work over family, friends or even yourself.
- When you meet someone for the first time, stop and realize that you really know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it all. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories are limiting your life and other people’s lives.
- Eat and exercise like you’re a diabetic heart patient with a stroke — so you never actually become one!
OK, now it’s my turn to jump on the bandwagon. Back on July 15, I wrote about some great advice to get you through the rest of 2016 — ideas gleaned from a page-a-day calendar that featured church signs. Well, let me now offer you some more advice, courtesy of that same calendar, to get your new year off to a positive, practical start:
- The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.
- Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.
- Don’t do dumb things with your smartphone.
- Take care of your thoughts when you’re alone and take care of your words when you’re not.
- You don’t need a reason to help people.
- Well done is better than well said.
These next “signs of God” are meant to tickle your funny bone as well as make you think:
- God is the potter — not Harry.
- Do you sow wild oats all week, then hope for a crop failure on Sunday?
- Some people change when they see the light; others, when they feel the heat.
- If you want your kids to follow in your footsteps, make sure your shoes have strong souls.
- Salvation guaranteed . . . or your sins cheerfully refunded!
- Give Satan an inch and he’ll be a ruler.
- Without the Bread of Life, you’re toast!
Lastly, ponder these signs that contain deep spiritual truths in a few words:
- A child of the King should bear a family resemblance.
- God is at the end of your rope.
- God has a solution even before you know you have a problem.
- You may not feel God holding your hand, but he’s always got your back.
Maybe the best advice, though, as we immerse ourselves in this new year of 2017 is simply:
“Make God your first priority, not your last resort.”