Monday, January 01, 2007


After a solid week of gorging, entertaining, and being entertained, I feel as empty as the wine bottles and gift boxes strewn about our home. I tried this season to dive without restraint into each gathering, rolling in the revelry of rare visitations and a husband off of work. I cooked, I laughed, I forgot completely about household projects and upcoming commitments. Just this afternoon I saw the wet blanket marked, “too much of a good thing” ominously poised to drop on our back-to-back festivities, validating my response of “because it wouldn’t be as special” to my son’s “Why can’t Christmas be everyday?”
The truth of the matter is, I am exhausted.

On my refrigerator a brand new calendar hangs nestled between art projects and photographs. The unmarked squares offer 31 exciting chances to schedule in the predictable resolutions guaranteed to take my joy and efficiency to the next level. I have such high hopes but little faith in my abilities to get healthy and organized. I am that girl who spends $100.00 on yoga gear only to watch the DVD twice before conveniently filling the time allotted for exercise with sleep.

As I type this, I can see from the corner of my eye the notebook I have dusted off and filled with weekly, dated, to-do pages. Sheepishly, I admit to you that I have repeated this symbolic gesture every January since entering the new millennium seven years ago, without lasting success. By mid-February, I resort to my old tried-and-true method of panicking over forgotten details in the middle of the night and switching my wedding band from one hand to the other, like a string tied to a finger, to remind me of the really important thing that should have been done yesterday, but will have to be accomplished half-heartedly tomorrow. I would like to claim that I naturally work better under pressure but that would be a misleading statement, to say the least.

After so many failed attempts at maintaining better habits, I am starting to see my plan of action as somewhat faulty. Perhaps I am putting the cart before the horse here. Deciding for myself what characteristics would make me a “success” and then trying to force those traits upon my malnourished soul, is essentially like attempting to create a blooming rose bush by taping petals to a dead twig. There are probably deeper issues preventing me from bearing fruit.

Why does a whiteboard filled with chores make me resentful? Why do I run from commitment? Why do I take solace in food when life gets stressful? How am I supposed to choose which goals are best for me, for my family, and for my community when there are so many legitimate options to pick from? When my long-term agenda is in a constant state of flux, my daily decisions have nothing sturdy to build upon - no motivating force to keep separating the good from the bad. I run out of gas because I never bother to map out a final destination, fueling myself accordingly. The question I ask myself should not be “what do I want to do?” but rather “who do I want to be?”

This year, before I make any resolutions, I believe it would be in my best interest to sit down and read with open-minded prayerfulness the fifth Chapter of Matthew in which Jesus preached the, still controversial, beatitudes. How I pack for a trip down the narrow path towards meekness, peace, and purity will be vastly different than how I would prepare for a journey towards comfort, security, and notoriety. It isn’t my natural inclination to be righteous so in order to keep stepping forward towards that particular objective, I will need to immerse myself in the lives of those who have already met that goal, following their own steadfast examples with the support of prayer and the holy sacraments.

Being organized is good. Being healthy is essential. These attributes are icing on the cake, icing that cannot stick to raw batter. “Who do I want to be?” I want to be like Christ. This won’t happen today, tomorrow, or even, quite possibly, in this lifetime. It will require countless failures and setbacks but if I can keep my eyes focused on Him, my finish line, my everyday decisions will have eternal merit and meaning. My life will have merit and meaning, and maybe I can become that rose bush after all, sucking nourishment up my through my roots and blooming with vibrancy and vitality.

I picked out a fantastic pen to keep clipped to my ultra streamlined notebook. I have already emptied, with relief, the nagging concerns that threaten my sleep into a tabbed “to-do list” section placed conveniently behind my 2007 calendar. Right above the reminders to call my insurance carrier about a claim and pay my Visa bill, I will use that nifty pen to write out PRAY FOR PERSEVERANCE. This should be scheduled as an “all day event”. Now, if I could only find that DVD …

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. . . —C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

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