Notes to Self
Next to luggage with rollers, note paper with adhesive may be one of the greatest modern inventions. These repositionable notes come in assorted shapes and sizes, and their stickiness doesn’t leave a residue.
The new year is an opportune time to take a “notes-to-self” inventory to reposition certain attitudes and behaviors, adhere firmly to resolutions, and leave painful residue from the past behind. An assortment of suggested New Year’s resolutions follows. Which one will stick for you?
I’m uncomfortable with silence, because I so seldom experience it. My world emits more noise pollution than a motorcycle rally! The neighbor’s lawn service uses two leaf blowers—at 7 am—every Saturday! A local teenager modified the exhaust system on his vehicle to make it sound cooler. Attempts to enjoy a quiet moment while sipping overpriced coffee at my favorite beanery’s outdoor space are often disrupted by blaring sounds from its’ drive-through. Resolved: I will make time for more peace and quiet this year. Otherwise my clamorous world drowns out the voice of the One who says, “Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:11).
“Seventy is the sum of our years, / or eighty, if we are strong; / Most of them are toil and sorrow; / they pass quickly, and we are gone… / Teach us to count our days aright, / that we may gain wisdom of heart” (Psalm 90:10, 12). Over the years, my senses have been dulled by monotonous toil and routine. I’ve grown accustomed to the tastes of bland coffee and wet, powdered eggs—customary in breakfast buffets at hotels and retreat centers. My life’s become as predictable as a nondescript wine sold in a box! What impulsive activity or trip have I dreamed of but never gave myself permission to pursue? Resolved: I will maintain a better balance between work and leisure, between the agony and ecstasy of life. To reawaken my senses, I will savor more of what life offers and embrace spontaneity this year. Like a classic martini, my routine will be shaken, not just stirred.
Observers of our culture offer proof that civilization is rapidly in decline. Consider America’s diminishment as a leader in world affairs; the seemingly cavalier attitude toward an uninhabitable planet for future generations; and adults engaged in warfare over a new chicken sandwich at Popeye’s. The round-the-clock news culture stresses me. A steady diet of real and fake news and polarizing opinions about the Church and world may, at best, make me better-informed but does little for my spirituality. Resolved: I’ll seek greater knowledge and truthful information about current affairs but not when viewpoints make me intolerant of others and compromise my Christian belief in the goodness of humanity.
“Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) seems unattainable. However, scholars assert that Jesus may have said “compassionate” instead of “perfect.” If the IRS loses more than two million tax returns or related documents annually and hospitals give newborns to the wrong parents daily, I’m entitled to a few errors! Resolved: I’ll undoubtedly fall short on some things in 2020—including my resolutions. By the grace of God, may compassion never be one of them!