Columnists Mark my words

Is this column good enough?

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

“Good win, but good is no longer good enough.”

This was the New Year’s Day front-page headline of the Kansas City Star. It referred to the Chiefs’ 27-24 victory over the Denver Broncos the day before.

When I read that headline, I wanted to call the Star and say, “You know, it actually is good enough!” A win’s a win, whether it’s by 3 points or 30, whether it’s a thing of beauty or ugly as sin.

It got me to thinking that in our world today, we’re no longer satisfied with good enough. In other words, good enough isn’t good enough anymore. It’s as if we’re on a quest for perfection in all things and become disappointed and out of sorts when we get anything less (and that’s 99.9 percent of the time).

This attitude is something that’s guaranteed to rob a person of peace of mind. It encourages us to focus on all that’s missing, rather than seeing all the positive things that are there.

Perhaps rediscovering a sense of “good enough” can bring some much-needed peace to our restless hearts as we begin a brand-new year. Many people hesitate to make New Year’s resolutions because they’re certain that they’ll not be perfect at achieving them. And they’re right.

But the point of resolutions is to make us better, not perfect, people. Let me give you an example. Last year, I made a resolution to get in better physical shape in 2017. To keep me honest, I joined a gym near the church offices and hired a personal trainer. I signed up to meet him two times a week for three months. Although I missed several sessions in February, I kept going back, even after those absences.

Well, I’m happy to report that I just finished an entire year at the gym with that personal trainer. Even though I wasn’t perfect in my twice-a-week goal every week, I did hit at least 45 of 52 weeks. That’s 90 sessions of exercise that I never would have done if I’d given up at my first miss. I feel good about that, both physically and emotionally.

And, yes, I’ve signed up for another year.

I learned two lessons in all this. One is illustrated in this little story:

One day, a small boy was trying to lift a heavy stone, but he couldn’t budge it. His father watched his son’s efforts.

Finally, he said to his son, “Are you using all your strength?”

Exasperated, the kid replied, “Yes, I am!”

“No, you’re not,” said the father calmly. “You haven’t asked me to help you.” (Found in “More Sower’s Seeds: Second Planting,” by Brian Cavanaugh, TOR.)

If I’m going to be successful with resolutions, I need the assistance of someone else, like a personal trainer, to keep me accountable and motivated. The same might be true for you. Find a “resolution buddy” this year and see if it doesn’t make a difference as you try to improve your life.

The second lesson I learned came from a book by Amanda Sullivan called “Organized Enough.” I was attracted to the book by the “enough” in the title. Her system uses the acronym FLOW and, for me, the first letter was worth the price of the book.

Sullivan begins by noting that the letter “F” stands for “Forgive yourself.” She writes: “The first step is forgiving yourself; you are human, and you don’t need to be perfect.” When I’d miss a session at the gym, I forgave myself and then picked up where I left off.

As we move through this first month of 2018, why not make a resolution or two about what will make you a better person this year. If you’ve failed miserably at keeping resolutions in the past — believe me, I hear you — please try again.

Don’t waste time trying to make perfect resolutions; make some that are good enough.

And don’t give up if you don’t keep them perfectly. Instead, congratulate yourself when you do them good enough.

After all, as the Chiefs will tell you, a win’s a win, even if it isn’t perfect!

About the author

Fr. Mark Goldasich

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