New Year’s Day is the morning of the year. Like mornings of mere days, it inspires fresh hope, but on an immensely grander scale. We wake each morning, after a split second of eternity in sleep, relieved to find ourselves still here.
We have once again spun around the earth’s axis, traveling 20,000 miles or more since yesterday, spinning day into night and then back to dawn. Without batting an eye or breaking a sweat, we have rocketed about a million and a half miles as we orbited the sun. All just since this time yesterday. And we’re going to do it all over again in the next 24 hours. Mysteries and miracles - and we’re in the center of it.
New Year’s Day is like that, only on a scale 365 times more inspiring. Over that last year, we have spun over 7 million miles and orbited 568 million miles through space and came back to where we started. All without mishap- if you don’t count the odd wars, depression, plague, and other disasters. But it’s now a new year with no mistakes in it. What should we do with it? What is possible?
Most New Year’s resolutions are lighthearted and, flesh being weak, fleeting. But even these timid and tepid attempts reveal a deeper and more serious impulse. To seize the moment, the day, and the year to become better than we were.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Almighty God has created the mind free.” He goes on to explain that this freedom of the minds both equips and obliges us to seek the truth that we should be guided by. Further, that all nobility, all that is worthwhile in life – depends on finding this truth and living by it. That failing to seek it with all our heart, mind and soul is to let our lives slip through our fingers like water.
Benjamin Franklin once conceived “the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection.” He reasoned he knew well enough what was right and wrong, so there was no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do the one and avoid the other. Looking back, he laughed at himself for this proclamation, but said he was confident he was a better and happier man for the effort.
A young Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to a good friend expressing, “I must regain my confidence in my own ability to keep my resolves when they are made. In that ability, I once prided myself as the only, or at least chief, gem of my character. That gem I lost. Until I regain it, I can not trust myself in any matter of much importance.”
Each of these individuals were flawed characters. Each played huge roles during times of crisis in our nation and contributed much good. The introspection and resolve, despite imperfections, were worth the effort.
December 20,2023 was my wife Kathy’s 70th birthday. We had a surprise party for her, and our grandchildren sang a song to her entitled “We have this moment.”
We have this moment to hold in our hands
And to touch as it slips
Through our fingers like sand
And tomorrow may never come
But we have this moment today.
Today, we start over. Not truly over, because we are all a year older. But a new beginning. Last year is gone and will not return. Nothing there can be changed or undone. This day, this week, this year is the moment you and I have been given to touch - to seek truth, to show love, and to work on things that matters.
I’m glad it is you I’ll be living this new day with. Help me make the most of it. And let me know how I can help you. We’re walking this road together.
Tim Powell MD