Wednesday, December 29, 2010

For Auld Lang Syne, my friends

The end of this year and the beginning of a new year are upon us, and for the sake of old times I want to honor the memories of those who passed on recently and of those who left us years ago. You are not and never will be forgotten.

I am reminded of the movie When Harry Met Sally when a new year is right around the corner. The ending of the movie never fails to bring tears to my eyes, because when Harry finally realizes that he wants to be with Sally for the rest of his life, he is overwhelmed with a sense of urgency to get to her. How often does that happen to us? To know that feeling--that sense of urgency-- when you want to change your life or some part of it, and you’d like it to happen NOW. Except that sometimes God and the universe have other plans and the changes take much longer than you’d like. Confucius said “Every journey starts with a single step.” Our lives are our journeys if we want them to be. They can be long journeys if we’re lucky. We can choose to really live our lives, to be present to ourselves and for others, to step up to the plate, to take responsibility, to live now, to honor the past because it gave us our identity and to respect the future because it is an unknown entity. It’s scary to take the first step sometimes. It’s easier to stay put on the couch in front of the TV rather than to stand up and move out of the passivity that may have become part of our lives. I’ve written about that so many times this past year probably because it was an important realization for me. I got off my couch. I stopped watching TV in a mindless way, flipping from one channel to another in a vapid attempt to find something meaningful to watch. I stopped asking it to give meaning to my life. Making the journey means wanting to be active participants in our own lives. It means being aware and conscious and alive, and willing to be all those things. It’s important because if we don’t choose against passivity, we hand over the reins to others to control us and that is not an attractive option at all, at least to me. I have become preoccupied with this because it could happen that our freedoms could be taken away from us if we are not aware of their value to our lives. That thought scares me.

Writing this blog has helped me become an active participant in my own life. It has given me back my voice and shown me what is important to me for the rest of my life. It has opened new roads and ways into my heart and soul and mind. It has also helped me unearth long-buried memories that were waiting to be revealed. It is amazing what we store away and how much we forget. Writing unlocks many doors; some of them open into rooms of sadness, others open into rooms of light and hope. For old times’ sake, I honor all my memories and all of the people who helped make those memories together with me. Some of them are sad, others joyful, but they define me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The ending of a year is always a bit poignant, but also hopeful because we move into a new year full of possibilities. I think I have finally understood (after many years) that there really are several possible outcomes to one specific event, not just one, and that we can often choose our response. Just that thought gives me a sense of exhilaration and freedom that I haven’t experienced in a while. I wish that sense of exhilaration and freedom for my friends, family, for those reading this blog, and for the world in general. I hope that 2011 brings hope to those who have not known hope for many years. I hope too that we find grace in our lives and in the things we do and that we realize that we do have a choice, a voice and the means at our disposal to make a difference in the world. 

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