I’ve always had an aversion for New Year’s resolutions. They seem so trivial and easily broken. Every year I hear “I resolve to lose weight…” or “I resolve to be more patient…” or my personal favorite “I resolve to spend less and stick to a strict budget.”
The person making such resolutions usually lasts a week, maybe two. By the end of January, the majority of all New Year’s resolutions are as forgotten as the Christmas fruitcake. So why do so many people conform to this silly annual tradition? I am not sure of the answer to this question but I have given it a lot of thought – especially this year.
As 2016 comes to a close, my mind turns to the blessings and challenges during the past 365 days. For my family, the greatest blessing is the gift of one another. The greatest challenge has been the loss of our beloved mother Joan Mary. As I was contemplating the beginning of a new year, it did not seem “right” that we would go on when someone so important, loved, cherished, needed and integral to our lives is not here to welcome the new year with us. My beautiful family tried to assure me that she is here, although not in the way I might want. In my sadness, my girls even tried to offer me advice that they said I once gave to them “you always told us that heaven is a far better place than earth mom, isn’t that a wonderful place for Nona to celebrate New Years?”
After some deep thought while cross-country skiing in the beautiful Maine woods, I decided that there was only one thing to do on this New Year’s Eve – persevere. If mom were here and I asked her how to handle feelings of despair over the loss of a loved one – she would say “pray often and trust that your beloved is resting comfortably in the arms of God, in our eternal home. But as you process this reality, be good to yourself, don’t give up when feeling sad, persevere in faith.” As I slowly skied through the tree-lined path, I actually felt like I was in heaven and imagined mom enjoying a similar sight of breath-taking beauty. This vision brought comfort to my weary soul and a smile to my cold face.
I think mom’s advice in this regard is worth sharing with everyone on New Year’s Eve. We don’t need to make silly resolutions we just need to be who we are in God’s eyes. Instead of making empty promises that won’t last, try resolving to give your best in every situation. If you are happy and everything is going well, then reach out to someone who needs a helping hand and give more of yourself. If you are struggling and in need of support, don’t be too proud, ask for help – things will get better.
Joanie showed us how to live in joy during her entire life. She persevered as a wife, as a mother, as a grandmother, as a nurse as a friend and as a woman fighting the cowardly disease of cancer. She faced many challenges over her 75 years but she never let them get her down and out – through faith and love, she persevered. May we all follow in her courageous footsteps in the new year!