New Year’s Resolutions
By Evie Kalvelage of Independence, MO, USA
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” —Matthew 25:34–40 NRSV
The New Year has just begun. In the past I’ve made my share of resolutions: lose weight, get organized, exercise daily, clean a closet, reduce clutter on the kitchen desk, eat at home more, and on and on. All good, but this year they seem far less important after months filled with concern for loved ones with serious health issues.
The good news is that seeing my usual resolutions fade into the background feels like my path forward has been cleared of pesky vines that entangle my ankles, pulling me back, impeding my progress, causing me to look down. I’m freer to look ahead and see the bigger goals and real obstacles in the way. I sense the difficulty, even the impossibility, of going it alone. I recognize Jesus standing patiently with outstretched hand, eager to lead me.
He’s just out of reach, waiting for me to make that last step, but I often look down, almost wishing for the vines to trip me up because they’re a comfortable excuse. He lingers, willing to let me fall and scrape myself until I grasp his hand and invite him into my day. Then he opens my heart and mind to receive poignant lessons. He teaches me through strangers who share their insights in writing, through ministers who deliver meaningful sermons and prayers, through family and friends who share their wisdom in conversations and ordinary activities.
Recently I watched a young coworker carry two heavy boxes up a long flight of stairs in high-heeled boots. My feet said, “No” to the high heels years ago; my back couldn’t support the heavy load, and I need one hand free so I can grab the railing in case I stumble. Seeing her, I remembered how I ran up and down the stairs of life, carrying all kinds of burdens. I could juggle a small child in my arms, drag another who was attached to my pant leg, and still carry bags and bags of groceries into the house in one trip. Grandmas don’t usually practice feats like that daily, and I gradually slowed down.
After hip surgery, I needed extra strength, confidence, and security to get around. I used a walker and then a cane. Railings I had never even noticed became necessities. Slowing down, depending more on others, and requiring more physical help ended up being a blessing. Railings have become a symbol for me. Just like the need to hold Christ’s hand, I didn’t think I needed railings except under special circumstances. Now, I’m aware of the benefits of both. I use them even when I don’t think I need them.
As time grows shorter in my measured life, I know there is less of it to waste. My New Year’s resolution is to take that final step toward Jesus the first thing each morning. When I grasp his hand and allow him to lead me, he gives me the energy, attitude, and resources to enjoy the adventure of each new day.
May I see your light in all life.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Light of God
Close your eyes, and become centered with your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.