INSIGHTS: AS YOU START A NEW YEAR
by: Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
The celebration of New Year begins on the last day of the Gregorian Calendar , 31st of December (New Year’s Eve), and continues on the 1st of January. As this year ends and another one commences , we spend some moments to reflect about life itself. Bear in mind that this celebration is not about an end nor beginning, but it is on going – it is moving forward. We are very much part of our past as well as our future. It is the present that will always define who we are and who we are gonna be.
Certainly, we encountered so many challenges in life. We all have our shares of successes as well as failures, of joys and sorrows, of triumphs and defeats. Life is always replete with challenges. Not everything in this world is perfect for we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people. But despite the struggles and difficulties…be appreciative. So many times we forget how blessed we are. Our gifts are always taken for granted. We’ve been blessed daily and we became so accustomed to it that we fail to see their importance and beauty in our lives.
Come to think of it, in one whole year , we have 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes and 31,536,000 seconds. What a wonderful gift from God. Each moment is a gift. We have been gifted mysteriously with TIME. Use it wisely and gratefully!
Be grateful to God for opening yet another blank page of our lives. It’s time to forget the hurts, the sorrows, the pains and disappointments of the previous year. Just move forward with a renewed hope and strength. New Year offers us new opportunities to do our best, to correct our mistakes and to make a fresh start.
In making a new beginning, allow me to share some thoughts to ponder upon: First : Improve your spirituality and your relationship with God. How? One can improve his/her relation with God by praying more. Make it a habit to pray always. St. Theresa of Avila once said that “Prayer is the lifting up of one’s mind and heart to God.” Take time to meditate. This is something that we often forget – to give ourselves time for silence and contemplation. Read the Scripture. It is important that we read God’s word daily. Attend Church’ services and receive sacraments specially the Eucharist and be reconciled with God in the sacrament of Penance.
Second: Learn to forgive. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Remember that no one is perfect. Everybody commits mistakes. So let yourself move forward. If you don’t forgive, you might be the one who pays most dearly. Keeping resentment , anger and thoughts of revenge keep away your peace. If you keep holding a grudge you become depressed and lonely. An angry person is always out of focus and direction in life. Only in learning to forgive when you can achieve peace, hope, joy and could start anew. It can lead to spiritual growth, healthier relationships, and healthy body free from stress.
Third: Appreciate yourself. But first , ‘Know thyself!’ as what Socrates once said. Learn to know your own strength as well as your weaknesses and insecurities. Stop comparing yourself with others. We are all beautiful imperfect human beings. Do not let other people define you. You are the only one in this world who gets to say who you are. Do not give other people the power to weigh you down by their negative words. Learn to accept your imperfections but strive for excellence. Do not be afraid to fail and to commit mistakes – embrace the fact that life is a roller coaster at times.
Fourth: Strengthen your family relationships. There’s no such thing as perfect family. Members at times argue, fight and hurt each other. We do not choose our family. They are God’s gift to us as we are to them. No family is free from struggles and challenges. But each one should try to reach out with one another. Happiness within the family will most likely be achieved when members strive for holiness, maintain mutual respect and love and a deeper faith in God.
Fifth: Set your priorities and goal. How could one have a clear direction if one does not know where one is heading to. Setting clear goals is the key to success in any endeavor. Believe in yourself. Pick something you enjoy and love the most and go after it. It doesn’t have to be something great, but be realistic and consider what is present. Don’t leave everything to chance!
Sixth: Be positive. People with a positive attitude are generally happy people and more successful.
Seventh: Smile always. You may be surprised how powerful one’s smile is.
Eighth: Travel. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” – St. Augustine. As they say , “Travel as much as you can, as far as you can, as long as you can. Life is not meant to be lived in one place.” It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, if you can not afford an outside the country tour , try a local one and enjoy! Traveling with a loved one , like family members or friends, can really be a rewarding experience. To see beauty , to discover and to learn, we have to look at things outside our comfort zone. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller
Ninth: Live , Laugh and Love deeply and sincerely. Do not be afraid to express your affection to a loved one. There is no greater sadness than holding on to the loving words and deeds you never delivered to those you loved – for one day you’ll never have a chance. Do some little ordinary things with a loved ones, you will realize one day that those ordinary little things you did together are those things you really miss the most. Looking back one day, you will consider them as the most magical moments in your life. It will make you smile!
Tenth: Be always grateful. Always thank God for the blessings as well as trials, for good times and bad. Be contented with what you have. For the things that you can not have …do not yearn for it. But cultivate, tap and develop and be happy with what you have. * There are times when we are happy; there are times when we are not. But we shouldn’t be discouraged. No matter how much we try our life won’t be perfect. It never has been and never will be. But if we accept its beauty and learn to deal with imperfections then we begin to appreciate and simply get a great deal of lesson from it. * All the best for 2017!!! – Pater Allen