A leader said to me long ago, "If you aim at nothing, you're sure to hit it." So today I committed myself by writing down the mix in my mind. The resolves below range between ordinary and unusual, technical and personal, easy and exacting. Unlike most, I am not resolving to lose weight, despite my desire to drop the numbers. What I have decided is:
- to not get lost in the e-mail forest. I will set a timer when I open up my mail client
- to not pretend that I can make a decision to change and carry it out solely by my own will power. I need God. I need you, friends and readers.
- to write a series of confessions, short blog posts admitting where my heart or my actions go wrong. This is the first step I believe to real change. Will I chicken out? Stay tuned!
- when I feel lonely or "off" or disconnected, to practice the presence of God, rather than eating or doing e-mail or indulging in other distractions. My favorite way to help myself remember God's presence is to breathe deep (from the stomach, like a singer) and say, "The Lord is Carol's shepherd, Carol will not lack anything."
- to keep pruning and decluttering. Today I crumpled 20 business cards. (You're asking, "Why is she still keeping a Rolodex?" That leads to my next resolution.)
- to keep improving my use of my smart phone purchased six months ago. Goal: to be able to easily e-mail a photo or post it on Facebook.
- to become proficient in submitting to literary journals; to increase the average rate at which I submit my stories (to more than 1.2 per week)
- to write one short blog post weekly—for me, much harder than writing long. My daughter has managed to do eleven blog posts in the last three days of the year. If she can, I can.
- to revise my novel (what I wrote before I entered the Creative Writing MFA program in 2010)
- And, I resolve (something unattainable solely by my mental gymnastics) to keep unpacking the meaning of Bonhoeffer's statement:
There is no way from one person to another. However loving and sympathetic we try to be, however sound our psychology, however frank and open our behavior, we cannot penetrate the incognito of the other man, for there are no direct relationships, not even between soul and soul. Christ stands between us, and we can only get into touch with our neighbors through him.Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together
Relationships suffer when I try to connect to a person without seeing Christ before me, Christ between us, Christ in the other.
That's nine resolves: one practical and mental (decluttering), two technical (phone and e-mail), three writerly, four spiritual. All of these are contingent. All are if God wills and empowers.
Asking me about my resolutions would be a great help to me. Knowing someone cares will keep me plodding—sometimes confidently, sometimes gingerly—placing a foot down, one after another.