Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new year, a clean slate

Really? I don’t think so.

Let me explain.

Change doesn’t happen just because someone hung a new calendar on your kitchen wall. What I’m trying to say and saying badly is this: If your life was going down the tubes on December 31st, 2010, it will probably still be going down the tubes on January 1st, 2011.

You are the same person you were yesterday, and so am I (the same person I was yesterday, not the same person you were yesterday), except that each of us is another day older (but not, it is hoped, as Tennessee Ernie Ford used to sing, deeper in debt). The Roman god Janus, after whom January is named, is most often depicted as having two heads, facing opposite directions, one head looking back at the last year and the other looking forward to the new, seeing into the future and the past simultaneously. So what?

Older is not necessarily wiser. There’s no fool like an old fool, as the saying goes, the implication being that one ought to learn from experience, and if one doesn’t, one is all the more pathetic in the eyes of one’s community. Stupid is as stupid does, said that great philosopher, Forrest Gump. Wisdom doesn’t come with age. Wisdom comes from knowing when to throw in the towel and give up entirely.

Wait...what?

It does no good to try to turn over a new leaf. Lifting oneself by one’s own bootstraps is usually an exercise in futility. It never works, or if it seems to work, the effect is only temporary. What we really need is a new life. And we can have one at any time.

Let me quote from St. Paul here: If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (Second Corinthians 5:13-17)

You don’t get a clean slate by trying to change yourself from the outside in. You get one by letting Someone Else change you from the inside out.

Not just once. Every single day.

11 comments:

Pat - Arkansas said...

Thoughtful post, RWP. Well said.

Putz said...

how come you single me out for an example all the time???just for that i won't make a new year resolution

Mountain Thyme said...

I love reading your thoughts and sentiments, but this time I disagree with you. I truly believe that if one is honest and strong and forthright, one can turn over a new leaf, so to speak. But, in order for that to happen, ones strength and fortitude must come from within oneself.

richies said...

You are so right. We cannot decide to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps once a year. In 1 Corinthians 15:31 Paul says "I die daily" We have no strength and fortitude within ourselves.

An Arkies Musings

rhymeswithplague said...

A very happy, safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year, everyone, (and especially you who leave comments on my blog! Okay, to the rest of you as well)....

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Why would anyone want a clean slate? All of us carry the baggage of our lives with us and it is impossible to deposit it in a dumpster. Besides, it enriches us. We've just got to keep on going, making the most of the short time we have here.

Eeshie said...

Ha ha I like your attitude :P

*clears throat* Ahem.

Hi, I'm Eeshie. I'm not sure how I found your blog, but it's really...cool? Interesting? Different? Spunky? Raspberry-flavored? Trees? Monkeys? Trousers? The sound of rain falling on my window on Saturday mornings? New Orleans? Pajamas? (Sorry -- halway through that list I just started naming some of my favorite things)

ANYWAY. I just want to say I like your blog. AND, I would love it if you took a looksy at mine. Here it is, in all its glory:

idontskinnydipichunkydunk.blogspot.com

Okie. I have Spanish homework to do. SO...bye! (And Happy New Year! Or, well..Survive a New Year!)

rhymeswithplague said...

Eeshie, welcome to my blog (I think)....the important thing to remember is that you're here.

Eeshie said...

AWRIGHT. I shall remember that.

Elizabeth said...

Wishing you and Ellie all the very best for, 2011, Bob.

rhymeswithplague said...

Oops, YP, sorry, I neglected to comment on your comment when I commented on Eeshie's comment, but my not commenting on your comment was not done on purpose; my not commenting on your comment was a complete oversight. However, I have nothing to say about your comment at this time.

Elizabeth, thank you, and as they say in New York, "Likewise, I'm sure."

The verification word is ingst, which is sort of like angst only later in the dictionary, if it is, in fact, in the dictionary.