This is the time when many people make resolutions, or at least fantasy wish lists of what they want to change about themselves or the world in this new year. I've actually made one, but won't announce it here. Most such resolutions fail and wishes turn out to be fantasies after all. There is something very seductive in the idea of being able to turn over a new leaf, make a new start, throw out the old and bring in the new.
What if we could learn to live each moment and relish its pregnant possibilities for change? Henri Nouwen wrote about living spiritually in the present in his book, 'Here and Now: Living in the Spirit'. Here's a short extract which seems especially applicable at the start of a new year, or any new moment:
"A new beginning! We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new. Imagine that we could live each moment as a moment pregnant with new life. Imagine that we could live each day as a day full of promises. Imagine that we could walk through the new year always listening to a voice saying to us: "I have a gift for you and I can't wait for you to see it." Imagine!
Is it possible that our imagination can lead us to the truth of our lives? Yes, it can! the problem is that we allow our past, which becomes longer and longer each year, to say to us: "You know it all; you have seen it all, be realistic; the future will be just another repeat of the past. Try to survive as best you can." there are many cunning foxes jumping on our shoulders and whispering in our ears the great lie: "There is nothing new under the sun...don't let yourself be fooled."
When we listen to these foxes, they eventually prove themselves right: our new year, our new day, our new hour become flat, boring, dull, and without anything new.
So what are we to do? First, we must send the foxes back to where they belong: in their foxholes. And then we must open our minds and our hearts to the voice that resounds through the valleys and hills of our life saying: "Let me show you where I live among my people. My name is 'God with you'. I will wipe away all the tears from your eyes; there will be no more death, and no mourning or sadness. The world of the past has gone" (see Revelation 21: 2-5).
We must choose to listen to that voice, and every choice will open us a little more to discover the new life hidden in the moment, waiting eagerly to be born."
Nouwen, Henry J.M., 1994, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit, Crossroad Publishing Co., pp 16-17
Image Credit: lenabem-anna, Flickr, CC License