Prompt for December 31: Clean Slate: Tomorrow is a new year. What do you want to do with your clean slate?
The prompters have done a wonderful job this month, and after looking down the path that the prompt paves, I’ve decided to make a left turn off the into the shrubs and woods of the unknown. Hang on.
If you have seen my “About Me” on Facebook or WordPress, you may have noticed my expression that, “Every day month and year is an opportunity to do something different, to be someone better than we were yesterday. Time will pass us by or make us better. Our choice. ”
In a class I recently attended, the trainer repeatedly used the expression, “There are only so many calories you can burn in a day”, meaning that we can work as hard as we want, but the universe always imposes constraints on what we can achieve in a fixed period of time, be it hours, days, weeks, months, years or decades. Life is always constrained and defined by time.
I hope that that my non-Christian friends will bear with me for a paragraph or two as I borrow from a recent homily from one of my parish priests. Christmas has two facets in our modern world, a spiritual and a social. The spiritual element of Christmas can be found in the Book of Luke which tells the story of Jesus, Angel Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist and the Sheperds.
The social aspect extends the story of Christmas by introducing the characters of the Little Drummer boy, Frosty the Snowman as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus. I love the Rudolph myth and the rest of these modern characters as much as anyone else. I would, however propose that those characters, the Grinch included, only slightly enhance the concept of the season, but also serve as a certain distraction or deflection from the greater spiritual meaning of Christmas.
These new characters really don’t really nourish us, but serve instead as the spiritual equivalent of empty Christmas calories. There are only so many calories you can burn in a holiday.
We all have experienced the time limitations that start at Thanksgiving and end with New Years. How much we focus on miracle of Christmas versus the distractions of the season are our choice and ultimately our responsibility. How do we want to spend that limited time available, with people who are important to us and/or doing the things that fill our spirits? Alternatively shall we use that time absorbing empty spiritual calories in whatever form they take? At the end of the holidays, we are ultimately responsible for the choices we made or don’t make. The question becomes one of what choices would have made our experience the richest possible, and what choices did we actually make and why.
Looking forward, we get 366 days bearing the 2012 brand. We can do with them what we please. Everything has an opportunity cost, something that must be given up in order to make a different choice. If I do this, I don’t do that. For most of us roughly 122 days worth of time will be spent sleeping. Those working full-time will spend another 83 days plus or minus at some type of job that hopefully enriches their lives. A priori, most of us working stiffs have about 205 of our 366 days allocated. What’s left is about 161 days worth of time to do with as we please.
Make great choices, there isn’t as much time as we think.
Happy New Year.