For the most part, I think I am a good person.
For the most part, I think a majority of the people I know are good people.
But, as we begin this new year and as I read posts and reflections about resolutions, I have found myself thinking that resolutions are not enough. Even being a good person is not enough. That what is needed, in our everyday actions, is intentionality about who we are and what we do and why we act the way we do.
Here is what I mean.
I think most of us go through our days focusing on the tasks and responsibilities at hand.
We help out.
We are polite.
We are kind.
We are caring.
We read the headlines in the news and cringe or cry.
We do our work.
We are good.
But, what is needed, I think, is a mindfulness about what we are doing and why we are doing it.
I am going to be kind because the other deserves respect.
I am going to care because the other is hurting.
I am going to cringe when I read the headlines because no one should experience that kind of violence or hatred or loss.
None of this is going to change what I do each day,
But it does do two things.
First, it reminds me of values that I want to reinforce in my life.
Second, it forces me to pay attention to my actions.
Today, when I am tired, I am going to focus on being kind.
Today, when I feel angry, I am going to focus on ways to help.
Today, when I shake my head at the headlines in the news, I am going to look for ways to build bridges of understanding between myself and others.
A week or so ago I had a conversation with a college student who was struggling and searching to understand God. There were times in his life, he said, when he felt what he named as God’s presence. How does he feel that everyday, he asked me. The easy responses were easy. Take time to pray. Take time to read. Carve out a few minutes each day to pay attention to God the same way you make time for your friends. But there is something more, I said. There is getting up each day and saying to yourself “This is what I know about God. I know God is about forgiveness and hope and life and peace. Even if I don’t feel God today, I am going to live like what I know about God is true.”
That is what I am going to try to do today.