What do you make of these ‘new year’ quotes?
“Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.”
“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”
I’m not big on Resolutions, but the turn of this pandemic year is a good prompt to ‘reflect’, lament, appreciate and learn from the past, to move forward with gratitude and determination and make the most of another year of God’s Grace.
These photos were taken yesteryear dog-walks, indeed this time of year can provide a special light and clarity for reflection. My daughter and dog were excellent company on this spectacular morning, but I was very bad company due to my absorption in the awesome river reflections.
Ancient Greek philosopher ‘Socrates’ was convinced that ‘The unexamined life is not worth living!” Certainly, I believe that the unexamined life (one without regular time to reflect) is not lived as wisely and well as it could be with more thoughtfulness. But what can guard us from looking in the mirror so intensely that, like Narcissus, we drown in self-absorption? Narcissus (Greek mythology) fancied himself. He fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. Stunned by the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus was drawn in and drowned. What can save us from such self-centredness and help us to recognise both our beauty and blemish? With ‘exocet wit’, on seeing a tiny louse (flea) on a lathered lady’s hat at church, Robert Burns wrote,
“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
An’ ev’n devotion!”
Sometimes it’s the false and abusive images that others impose on us in childhood and throughout life, that we need freed from. I’ve found that regularly meeting up with a close friend, whose opinions I value and trust, is sobering and helpful for ‘healthy reflection’. I also meet monthly with a retired minister, who allows me to rabbit on. He offers searching questions and experience to help me learn much more from my reflections. His instruction to spend an hour each day in quiet has been transformative and feeds my days with more purpose and power than before, when I tended to get lost in self through hyper-activity. It gives God more chance to have a word in my ear and help me see things from his perspective (E.G. through reading The Bible, Prayer and Journaling).
Is there someone you could seek such help from? Like me, are you curious to learn what God wants you / us (as church / society) to ‘take back up’ and what to ‘release’ post-pandemic? “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” God’s Best to and through you in 2021!