As an employee of a gym during January, I am bearing witness to those initial efforts of tackling idealistic New Years Resolutions. More people then ever are busting through the doors ready to shed last year’s baggage. I walk down the halls catching bits of conversations about how someone is resolving to eat less chocolate or drink less wine. Perhaps a person wants to finally cook dinner instead of repeatedly stopping for take-out, start attending church regularly again, or make it on time for appointments. It seems that once the clock strikes midnight people explode with optimism and excitement over the chance to reinvent, to straighten the kinks from the inside out. And yet, as we reach the end of this first month of 2012, I wonder how many of us are already feeling like failures in the race against ourselves.
In the church, we have entered the season of Epiphany. The basic meaning of the word epiphany is “to show,” “to make known,” or “to reveal.” It is a manifestation of Jesus as the Lord and King. It is very fitting that many of us choose this time to look inside ourselves to see what God may be trying to reveal. But are we looking deep enough? If we look beyond the easy fixes, the diets, to do lists, and strategic plans, we find our souls desperately in need of nourishment. What if we simply resolved to love? What if we resolved to love in the long, stressful lines along life’s journeys: the grocery store, the bank, the highways? What if we resolved to love in the heat of an argument, the moment we lose what we thought was ours, the instant that someone lets us down? What if we stopped ourselves before we spoke, realizing what the other person might be feeling? In this altered state, we would surely find the blueprint of our lives unfolding in a much different way.
Cloaked in the pale light of winter’s dawn, we take our first steps of the new year and the enlightening season of Epiphany. Let us not send ourselves into dizzying guilt trips over failed attempts at lofty goals. This year, let us measure ourselves by the way we encounter others in those overlooked moments that ultimately form our lives. Let us resolve to love.
By Katie Turpen