Hopes For The New Year

As 2010 draws to a close, it’s a good time to look forward and think about our goals for the future and where we’re at in our lives. As Jews we traditionally do such contemplation at High Holidays, but there’s no denying that we also think such thoughts at this time of the worldwide New Year.

New Years signals opportunities for new beginnings. It’s really not different from any other day, but just like our birthday, it seems to magically grant us a blank slate to redefine some aspects of who we are. Alongside resolutions to exercise more, take a college extension class, or fill-in-the-blank, I wonder how each of us will live better lives in 2011?

Will we try harder to act with integrity? Will we be more organized and will we work smarter?

Will we be more kind? Will we take more responsibility for our actions and try harder to correct our mistakes?

Will we recognize more opportunities to be of service to others, and will we act on them?

Will we be better listeners and better learners, and will we take more time to be insightful and empathetic?

Will we be more loving and will we pray more often?

And will we try harder to recognize and be grateful for the infinite blessings in our daily lives?

Too often I’m distracted by the cacophony of my day, and far too many Holy Little Gifts get by me. You know the ones I’m talking about: the majesty of God’s handiwork, the uniqueness in everyone around us, the look of ecstasy in the faces of children at play… there’s a million of ’em.

Whether it’s a tire salesman fixing my flat for nothing and saying, “I hope the rest of your day is a better one”; or before an appointment, the love of my life driving over dinner to me in little plastic containers so I don’t have to wait too long to eat… I hope none of those treasured moments get by me this year.

I have a feeling that God’s Hand is in everything we do – in every experience we have. As a result, I think this will be another year of limitless opportunities for all of us.

In the contemplative culture of the Sixties I remember hearing countless debates questioning the meaning of life and the secret to happiness. All these years later, the best answer I’ve got is that in order to be happy, I must live a life with meaning.

Here’s to a year for all of us of renewed faith, serenity, fulfilled goals and living our happiest, most meaningful lives.


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