Keeping the Spirit

It’s a new year and, like every year, we make resolutions or promises to ourselves. Also, like every year, we will break those promises. So, why do we do it over and over? Underneath our outer layer, at our very core, we all have good intentions of doing good to ourselves and others but we are human and are flawed…bottom line.

Perhaps one of the reasons that I love the Christmas season so much is the merriment. Yes, we are all stressed, with so much more that we feel we have to do on top of all the normal stuff. But the magic, you can feel it in the air wherever you go; people are friendlier, they smile more, they take that extra second to be kind. Just the other day I was in line behind a gentleman in Meijer’s. After he had finished his transaction, he stayed a moment and was silent and then he sincerely looked at the cashier and said “Merry Christmas” and you could tell he meant it from the heart, it wasn’t just an afterthought.

Even though, I admit, I was a little impatient with him at first, thinking he had a problem that would detain me and the other five people in line behind me for a few more minutes, I learned something in that moment: An extra minute here and there will not completely throw my daily schedule off and it may actually enrich my life and help make me a better person.

With that thought in mind (and I say this every year), I really want to try to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year. This year my resolutions will reflect this decision.

First of all, why are we always in such a hurry? It seems like we have to rush here, only to rush from there to somewhere else and on and on. How many people do you know that can’t finish their phone conversation with you because they have another call. They probably don’t finish that conversation either because there is another call waiting. So, why is the second person more important than the first and the third more important than the second? I know that I will break this, but I am really going to try to slow down, make every minute count and not always rush through life, except for planting and harvest, that is just a given!

On this same note, I am going to try to be a better person to someone I haven’t spent a lot of time with lately…me. This goes right along with the losing weight, eating better, exercising and all the other good intentions that we all resolve to do better, which never seem to last. A prime example is that I know I don’t drink enough water simply because I don’t get thirsty. My cousin Vicky is so good about this, she has a mug of ice water with her wherever she goes. Now, how hard is that? I don’t because it takes a couple minutes to fix it and to be conscious of drinking it. Really, a couple minutes out of my day to do something that will make me feel better and be healthier and I don’t do it. This is what I’m talking about.

All of us are pretty good with the big resolutions. Last year I wanted to compile the family cookbook. Even though it took many more hours than I had first thought, it is done. This year I want to write my first book, in addition to my columns. I will do it. These things are passions of ours that we want to cram into that short span of space that we call life. As odd as it may sound, these bigger-than-life projects are easy to accomplish because we carve out big chunks of our lives for them. Why can’t we do the same for the little things that should be just as important to us?

Lately, I have felt the stress, not only in accomplishing daily tasks, but also with the people I am closest to in life. Some of the folks closest to me seem to be the furthest away. Have I been so busy that I have neglected them while trying to reconnect with those who we seldom see? After all, isn’t that what the holiday season is about, spending time with those who are dear to us? It’s great to reach out to friends and relatives who we don’t always see, but in so doing we can’t forget about those that are closet to us. Maybe it’s time for me to get my priorities in order.

This all boils down to keeping the spirit alive throughout the year. Some things do matter but, more importantly, people matter. Each person that is in our lives holds a special place. Those people in our lives matter but, to be good to them and take time with them, we must first be good to ourselves and take time for us. That is the Christmas spirit, taking time for each other and this year I am going to really try to keep the spirit alive.

  • Published on Dec 27, 2017
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