by Father Mark Goldasich
New week, new month, new year . . . same old me. So read the first entry in my 2023 journal.
Since I usually write at the end of the day, that statement indicated I’d started the new year by totally ignoring my resolutions. Well, at least I’m consistent about that each year!
Honestly, I was torn in two directions this year. On one hand, I toyed with resolutions like: gain a little more weight, procrastinate more and accumulate more clutter — things I excel at. On the other hand, I thought about making no resolutions at all; that way, I’d be assured of not failing.
Neither of those options sat well with me, however. So, I’ve taken the middle path, inspired by this story:
Thomas Edison’s laboratory was virtually destroyed by fire in December 1914. Although the damage was estimated at $1 million, the buildings were only insured for about $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof. Much of Edison’s life work was destroyed.
At the height of the fire, Edison’s son Charles frantically searched for his father among the smoke and debris. He finally found him, calmly watching the scene, his face glowing in the fire’s reflection and his white hair blowing in the wind.
“My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67 — no longer a young man — and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, ‘Charles, where’s your mother?’ When I told him I didn’t know, he said, ‘Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.”
The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and declared, “There is great value in disaster. We’ve just got rid of a lot of rubbish.”
Three weeks later, his factory buildings were partially restored. In 1915, Thomas Edison Industries chalked up $10 million in revenue. (Adapted from Brian Cavanaugh’s “Fresh Packet of Sower’s Seeds: Third Planting” and the Edison Muckers website.)
I like the idea of past failures being burned up in the year gone by and starting fresh with hopefulness and enthusiasm in a brand-new year.
My first resolution for 2023 is to abandon my “all-or-nothing” attitude. Too many times, I’ve given up on my resolutions — often by mid-January — because I wasn’t doing them perfectly. I’m being kinder to myself this time around by learning from my failures and recommitting to my resolutions going forward — one day at a time, one step at a time.
My other resolutions are as follows (I’m making them public so you can hold me to them):
• I will read 30 books this year.
• I will use the new things I’ve bought but “saved for a later date.”
• I will knock out at least six of the items on my “bucket list.”
• I will take care to remember the birthdays of my friends with a card, text or email.
• I will slow down and savor times of prayer.
• I will, with God’s help, live better the Prayer of St. Francis and the Serenity Prayer.
Of course, there’s one last resolution: to organize my home. I’m starting small with National Clean Off Your Desk Day which is Jan. 9 this year. I’d hoped to end with the Prayer for Messy People but, sadly, I couldn’t find it . . . as it’s buried somewhere on my desk!
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