Towards a few New Year's non-resolutions...
I generally am not one for making New Year's resolutions - not that they are bad - but like most of us I know they will likely be broken before the year is a week old. What's more, as my commitment to the way of Jesus ripens, most resolutions bore me. They hold no real interest and, in fact, are often distractions. As I read more Buechner during Christmastide, this passage seems to speak loud and clear:
What deadens most of us to God's presence within us, I think is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort, as the huge monk in cloth of gold put it, than being able from time to time to stop the chatter including the chatter of spoken prayer. If we choose to seek the silence of the holy place, or to open ourselves to its seeking, I think there is no surer way than by keeping silent.
So as I've let those words seep within for a bit, two non-resolutions keep calling to me - perhaps they are more like spiritual teasers calling me beyond the lethargy of my own status quo - and I'm curious about how I might dance with them both throughout the new year.
+ First, again from the pen of Buechner, this insight for living faithfully: Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge or manage the lives around you - your children's lives, the lives of your husband, your wife, your friends - because that is just what you are powerless to do. Remember that the lives of other people are NOT your business. They are their business. They are God's business because they all have God whether they use the word God or not... This is an astonishing thought and can become a life-transforming thought.
+ And second, also from Buechner, a reworking of the wisdom, promise and challenge of taking Christ's incarnation seriously: One of the blunders religious people are particularly fond of making is the attempt to be more spiritual than God.... to deny the reality or significance of the material, the fleshy, the earth-bound (and even) themselves.
Perhaps these non-resolutions are what the old rabbis meant when they advised people to keep two notes in their pockets. On one is written: Remember that you are just a little lower than the angels. And on the other: Remember that from dust ye came and to dust ye shall return. I feel drawn to dance with these polarities this year, what about you?