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The Obligatory New Year’s Resolutions Post

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. Probably because most of my lofty goals in January serve as sad reminders of abject failure come February or March. I do have a few goals for 2010, but I won’t bore you with them. (I’ve got all year to bore you with them.)

I will, however share a quote that I found several years ago. It’s more of an attitude adjustment than a goal. I liked this little quote (Author unknown) so much I decided to write it on my laundry room wall — a place I find myself often in need of an attitude adjustment:

“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more…And all good things will be yours.”

And as an added bonus, I’ll share a poem I first read in a therapist’s office many years ago. It’s helped me through some tough times, and I think it’s appropriate as we say goodbye to 2009:

Comes the Dawn by Veronica Shorffstall

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,

And you begin to understand that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head held high and your eyes open,
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.

After a while you learn to build your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,

and futures have a way of falling down in midflight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you can really endure,
That you really are strong

And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn … and you learn

With every goodbye you learn.

Happy New Year, y’all! I’m looking forward to it and I hope you’ll come along for the adventure. Have a blessed Sunday.

A Smack in the Head (by Billy Coffey)

I blame it on my New Year’s resolution. That’s what was on my mind and what had abducted my focus.

I was on the couch trying to decide what I should spend the next 365 days trying to improve about myself. Since I’ve always been one convinced that nothing but a lofty goal is worth the effort, I decided to aim high. I was going to eliminate everything in my life that brought me pain, no matter what sort of pain that may be. Seemed good on the surface, but the logistics were problematic. Pretty much everything in my life had the potential to bring me pain. Even the good things.

The logistics were what I was pondering as I walked from the living room into the dining room and past my son, who reached out and gave me a hug that I barely felt. And I was still pondering them when I rummaged through the refrigerator for the pitcher of sweet tea and poured a glass of milk instead. Also when my daughter asked me (for the third time, she said) if she could play her video game for a bit.

Wasn’t paying attention at all. Because this Thing, this resolution, had carried me away from reality to a place where my body could not follow.

It’s a precarious position to be in, having to straddle two worlds. And impossible to do for very long without losing something along the way. Which is why my son asked me a question I did not hear, my daughter tried three times unsuccessfully to gain my interest, and I had a cup of 2 percent rather than sweet tea.

I would have probably remained in that state of Here But Not Really for a while longer if the cabinet door hadn’t have been left open. Because just as I took a sip of milk and wondered why it was not tea, I turned and smacked headlong into it. That was when my trip to Neverland came to a sudden and complete stop.

When I came back to reality.

I rubbed my forehead and heard the unmistakable giggle of a little girl from the other room. Physical humor is a art form, and one I unknowingly practice at times. It keeps both me bruised and my family entertained.

I stood in the kitchen and tried to retrace my steps, all to no avail. I couldn’t remember getting off the couch, couldn’t remember the walk into the kitchen, couldn’t remember anything. One moment I was alone in the living room, and the next a cabinet door was assaulting me.

Strange, huh?

But to be honest, this sort of thing happens to me all the time. Happens to us all, too. As much as we try to stay anchored to reality, we all have the occasion to wander in our thoughts. Things that need to be done, things we fear being done to us. Where we need to go, what might come next. The cares of this world are many, but they all serve one common goal—to rob us of the joy that is Here and Now.

I understood then that I could probably make any resolution in the world and be better off than making that one.

All the proof I needed to confirm that could be found in my absent-minded stroll from the living room to the kitchen. A little love from my son wasn’t enough to snap me out of my thoughtlessness. Neither was the responsibility of being a parent. Nor even the quench of my thirst. No, the only thing that reminded me of where I was and what I needed to be doing…was pain.

Which I suppose is why God allows things that will give me a smack in the head from time to time. He knows that’s just the thing that will keep my head where it needs to be. Sometimes it’s an unanswered prayer, even an outright No. Or a delayed promise. Or even a senseless tragedy.

Those are the things that tend to separate me from Him. Until I bonked my head on that cabinet, I thought pain was my enemy. Something I should resolve to remove completely from my life. I know better now.

I’m thinking that instead of resolving to hurt less, maybe I should resolve to hurt more. Because the only sure way to get to the yonder and later is to be in the here and now.


To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at at his website and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.