New Year Resolutions

Contributed by the Rev. Edward M. Cardoza

Ah yes, the New Year is upon us. Many people will do a year in review. Others will set resolutions. I always like to set an intentional practice around New Year’s Day. I usually like to find some quiet time during the day itself. It may be near my fireplace, or in my favorite comfortable chair or—if the outdoors beckons—along my favorite wooded path. I settle in with some breathing, focus and silence—and I ask myself: what were the things I really enjoyed in 2016. Sometimes these come easily. I suspect this year—it may take a little more focus. As each of those moments comes up—just take a moment to savor them and be thankful for them. You can also write them down on a piece of paper or place them in your journal.

Can you make a resolution to commit to doing some of these things again in 2017?

Next, I like to ask what were the issues or situations that caused the most stress, anxiety or disappointment over the year? Again, it might be good to list them down. As you review the list—allow them to be taken in by you. What was out of your control? What could you have taken more responsibility for within yourself? What remains unresolved? What needs healing?

For those situations out of control—can you let them go and cast them away? For those needing you to take responsibility—can you make a commitment to do that in 2017? For those needing resolution or healing—are you able to commit to that in 2017? Write down an action plan—of things you want to let go of and things you want to do in the New Year.

Breath! Delight! Take a look at your lists—New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t just be wish list of things you know your probably won’t do—they ought to be about repeating places of joy, fulfillment and happiness. And, they ought to also be about letting go of what we can’t control and taking responsibility for things we can do something about.

I find when I do this practice—it leaves me with a commitment to live life more abundantly by committing to do those things that went well and to repair those areas that are disconnected or in need of healing.

Best wishes to you in the New Year!

Busyness and Presence

 

Virgin Mary

 

Submitted by Board Member, the Rev. Dr. Richard Bardusch

Today is a swirl of activity around the church. We have an Eagle Scout project going on, window replacement, asphalt dump, Senior Luncheon with guest speaker, Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, grant deadline, and all the regular stuff that happens on a daily basis. There is a hum in the atmosphere with laughter, excitement, new faces,temporary faces, and familiar faces. With so much going on it is easy to lose oneself to the busyness. It is easy to get lost in the interactions of what is happening around me. It is easy to get distracted from the real business of the church, which is to be connected to God, to be an outpost of the Kingdom, to be present.

This morning a woman brought in a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be blessed. I almost missed her in the running around trying to get groups settled and going. She got my attention and asked to speak with me. We went to my office and there she told me her story. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and had surgery to remove it three years ago. Each day she has been praying the Hail Mary and it has helped her deal with the illness and the pain. It has brought her peace and stillness in the face of anxiety and stress and the busyness of doctors, nurses, and surgeries. When she found the statue at Pennies from Heaven, she bought it and took it home. She says it has become a symbol of hope and care, and helps her remember that all will be well.

The busyness and the cares and anxieties of life can take us away from our true self. They can become a distraction from resting in the Presence of God and being at peace with our lives. I love the swirl of activity; it is energizing and exciting. But I have to be aware of what is most important: God’s Presence.