Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Positive Resolution

New Year’s resolutions are too often a list of don’ts: Don’t swear. Don’t drink. Don’t scratch. Don’t stick carrots up your nose.
Even the positives like “I will lose twenty pounds” carry a negative: “I will not eat candy, doughnuts, or anything good.”
All night long after the celebratory fireworks across the street, I looked for items to add to my ever-growing list. Like most people, I realized how daunting a task this self-perfection was going to be and turned over, thinking “Maybe next year.” 
At which point I woke up with my favorite Bible passage whapping me upside the head: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
In other words, a resolution list needs only one item: Love.
Not to make it sound simple or anything, but it’s that simple!
Because here’s a startling reality: Love is a forward motion. 
Unlike any other resolution you make, with love you never go backward. You never lose ground by trying and failing. Attempting to love always causes you to love more than you ever did before. You never go back to zero. 
Instead, you gain patience and perseverance. You gain perspective. You gain ground on the ultimate goals of peace, joy, and harmony that you never could with any other resolution.
Seeing people through the eyes of love rather than of judgement reveals every individual’s worth, uniting the world through mankind's qualities rather than dividing it by human failings.
I can hear the voices now. That is totally whacked. Talk about pie-in-the-sky! Get a clue, ya hippie!
I know. The thought is idealistic, beyond the grasp of reality, but here’s a plan for the naysayers: Hush! 
Rather than limiting the scope of love, let it be as illogical, unreasonable, and impractical as possible. 
Replace I can’t with we can
Love the unlovable.
Seek beauty in chaos. 
Seek wonder and awe.
Embrace joy.
Let us be the incredibly loving human beings we were always meant to, and when someone tells us it's impossible, do it anyway.
Jesus did.
Happy 2015.