- Written by Lucy Shaw
Dear Lucy: It is nearing the end of December already. It seems that so many people pass away during this time of year. Many of them are older people. It seems like they just decide that they don’t want to do another year. Maybe they know something we don’t know. So much is changing in the world and so fast. It’s time for another year and I can’t get excited about it. I’m not depressed, just not excited. Am I the only one tired?
Dear PK: I suppose that if I could ask the question just right, I could Google and find out if it’s true that December is the big month for deaths of a certain age. So often I tend to be more aware of death or birth or birthdays or anything else simply because I am thinking about it and paying greater attention. In the last three weeks, I had a personal stake in three different deaths ranging from ten years old to ninety. As I focused on these deaths I began to pay attention to the whole subject of death and dying including the ending of one calendar year and the start of another. So I feel a little of what you are talking about.
This is the time of year when we ask many life-changing questions. There will be many essays written and sermons preached on this topic for the next month or so. The essence of growth is curiosity. Curiosity is our spiritual birthright. We are constantly asking who, where, why, when and what. The trick to success is asking the right question and having the wisdom to balance our search for the answer with the patience and ability to wait and be quiet so that we can hear the answer.
Sometimes we ask “why?” just to wallow in the “why.” We don’t really want the answer and if we had it we wouldn’t use it or stop asking “why” long enough to learn the lesson contained in the why. Quite often the answer is looking back at us when we look in the mirror. I am the “who,” the “why,” the “when,” “what” and “where.” Sometimes I look so hard outside myself for answers that I forget how absolutely resourceful, wise and wonderful I really am. What seems like the fatigue of having to face another year could just be my curiosity getting the best of me.
How I wish I knew what the next year will bring! But, I don’t. I can expect to see some people come and some go. I can expect some super days and some not so super. The big definite is that I can expect change. We live in a world of constant change...this is a fact. This change is tiring, invigorating, scary, encouraging, all at the same time depending on one’s viewpoint. And what we do have control over is our viewpoint.
There was a jeweler in Memphis named Las Savalle who passed away this year. Each time someone he knew or someone well known in the city passed away, he would put their name on his store marquee in honor of their lives. No matter who it was or what they had done, he would simply create a headline that said, “Memphis is a better place because John Doe was here.” I remember shortly after my husband’s death, the shock and simultaneous comfort I felt when I passed the store and looking up read, “Memphis is better because Harold Shaw was here.”
Las was a truly fine gentleman and what he knew was that we are all connected and we are all important. And this brings me to the question I want to ask of myself this year: “What am I willing to do this year to become better in ways that not only enrich me but also bless the rest of the world?”
What I do is important and makes a difference. I won’t judge according to what anyone else thinks about me. I will judge according to what I know I can be. I can be the one who will be missed by the entire world simply because I lived and made a choice to make a difference by elevating my own mind, and spirit.
I make a choice to remember that what I think about myself as connected to every other person, place and thing in this world is an awesome responsibility. Everyone I reach out to touch with love may not choose to touch back. I don’t control that. But I do control my willingness to keep on reaching, caring, giving, sharing and being curious. If that makes us tired sometimes, PK, we will just have to wait for the inevitable change!
Happy New Year!
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy’s new book, “BE NOT ANXIOUS.” Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)