By Amanda Ponzar
This week I attended a memorial service for a colleague, only 47 years old when she passed away unexpectedly. What does it mean? Why does this happen? How do we respond? What are we supposed to learn? How do we come away wiser, deeper, better?
At times like these, it is as though a fog temporarily lifts and we have a fleeting glimpse of Avalon. For a moment we find clarity, it’s all so beautiful and we see plainly what life is about. Then suddenly, soon after, somehow we sink back into what we don’t have, how stressed we are, everything that is wrong, bad traffic, bad housing market, bad economy, and other daily disappointments that sap our energy and enthusiasm.
Let’s pretend we don’t lose that mountaintop moment of lucidity. What do we know in our heads to be true, real, important? We always say faith and family/friends, community and country. We know we should appreciate each other, value people, be thankful for life and all the blessings. That we should work hard, strive to find/do/be good, focus on the positive, share the joy. Use what we have to help others. Etc.
In a new year, we make resolutions, but mine tend to be mostly personal (translation: mostly selfish) –- tone up, get a promotion, do something brilliant at work, be a better parent, obtain another degree/certification, learn new skills. What about trying to be a better human being? Slowing down and being thankful every day? Asking for open eyes to really see others and care about them? Finding new ways to serve, give, volunteer? Searching for a life mission that will leave a real impact? Maybe those questions are too big and out of reach.
Nevertheless, they should be explored. We must resist the urge to fall into mundane resolutions this New Year -- fight to stay focused on what really matters and see where it takes you.