AN OLD NEW DAY, 2005
“So here hath been dawning another new day; think, wilt thou let it pass useless away…?”
It is one of those posers that pop up almost at random, and like most of it’s kind somehow manages to make me feel guilty; they also seem mostly unanswerable and make no immediate sense. After all, what is useful to one is useless to another, and having done some of my daily chores the question still stands unanswered; are they useful enough? Are they, in the grand scheme of things, useful at all? My basic humility rarely moves me to action anyway because getting too useful may only arouse envy in the hearts of other lay-abouts who have long since given up the struggle. More to the point however, what is confronted here is another NEW YEAR.
Here hath been dawning another New Year; this indeed is a challenge. I seem to be asked just what I am going to do about it; just how different, and presumably better, do I plan to be in the year to come. Having seen some fairly useless years come and go with only a smidgeon of personal improvement here and there, my resolve is about as firm as a wet noodle –not even al dente. Like all the other truisms which sound good at first blush, (and may in fact evoke some blushing, such as “slow and steady does it” right after I have rushed headlong into some quick-fix that bogs down), never quite tells me precisely what “it” does, or why. My first impulse is still to do nothing at all –wallowing in unrepentant sloth.
But perhaps with a different attitude one could at least slim down or trim up, join a spa or hire a personal trainer. Or learn to sing, tap-dance, take up the zither or the harp, learn magic tricks and be the life of any party, even arise in the early dawn and jog a couple of miles before breakfast. Eating breakfast and getting out of bed would be a start –and eat healthy don’t forget --all those carrots and greens –no more cakes and pies for lunch. The most obvious improvement would, it seems, be for me to become a lot different than I am.
But now surely is the time to take heart. I have decided (in the nick of time this year), that most other people do not appear to change much at all once majority has been reached –nor shall I, probably. A philosopher has said the kind of thing his sort often say, “Greet each day as a new lifetime”, but my persistent, ordinary humanity will this year try to solve the problem of newness and change by falling back on some old routines, by in fact changing very little in the face of the cataclysmic changes crashing down around us. Here I hide within the words of B.F. Skinner, a behaviorist (one I cared little for in the past), who wrote, and very probably said aloud: “The older I get, the more I become me”. (No wonder my past New Year’s resolutions are always broken; I must have tried too hard to be somebody different. Am I the only one who has tried to cope with new problems in faddish, unfamiliar new ways? At least I always give up easily). Now the real question is revealed: with what methods or wisdom already provided to me, do I intend, as it were, to gird up my as yet un-girded loins to greet the coming year?
Remembering that my son Douglas just the other day suggested that I reread Galatians, I find that the Apostle Paul had written, (in a tone of dismay), “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all.” He went so far as to address them as “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? (Gal.1-6. 3-1). Paul was referring to something already learned, something that had stood revealed, and something I was apparently now ignoring –possibly to my own detriment. For Paul, coming to terms with this life and the next included those conditions of justification and renewal, which comes only through faith in Jesus Christ; not through reliance on regimens, “religiosity”, fads, spells, magic or man-made laws. Go and do likewise, the words seemed to say. My New Year’s resolve is clear, may yours be likewise. Love and HAPPY NEW YEAR to my children, my children’s children, and to one and all!