Will Tomorrow Ever Come?
The year 2009 is now being deferred to history as 2010 is about to be discovered. As with the first page of a school notebook, the first week of a new year, or the first day of a diet, we cannot help but be filled with optimism and the desire to reset our behaviors when the chance to be a “new you” presents itself. Yet it is not long into the week that our neat handwriting that marked an optimistic beginning yields to scribbling; it’s not long into the year that yogurt yields to cheesecake and that our gym card becomes as lazy to get off the couch as we do. As we look through Time magazine’s lists of 2009 that reflect on everything from the people of the year to the worst gaffs, scandals, feuds and breakups, it’s hard not to wonder how things went so wrong. How could Governor Sanford disappear to Argentina with a mistress and think he’d get away with it? How could a clean-cut guy like Tiger Woods be such a yutz? How could no one see what Bernie Madoff was up to? How could uninvited guests gallivant right into the White House? How could it be decided that 9/11 terrorists will stand trial in a New York court? It would have taken a Disney stretch of the imagination at the onset of 2009 to predict all the troubles and trauma that kept us on our toes and out of jobs in the past year. The question is why do we keep getting ourselves into trouble time and time again even as we try as individuals, as leaders, as pop icons, to turn a new leaf? The answer came to me both in this week’s Bible reading which marks the end of the book of Genesis and the beginning of the Jewish exodus. It also came to me with the kind wishes of someone who said, “Hope the New Year brings you great things.” It is upon that wish that I realized how troubles brew. For what I noticed by going through Time magazine’s epic failures of the year, is not what 2009 brought to people, but rather what people brought to 2009. Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Is it any wonder, then, that if we brought to 2009 everything that we were in ’08 that nothing had a chance to get better but rather was condemned to failure? We are so gung-ho on attaching ourselves to the blank slate of what lays ahead simply because it is the easy way out: “Oh, let’s see what tomorrow brings.” But as we traverse that pristine white landscape of tomorrow we are still wearing yesterday’s filthy muddied boots. How do we then wonder how we’ve ruined this too and made such a mess? It’s at this time of year, while making resolutions, that we should be looking to the past and scrutinizing our behaviors and cycles of weakness. I’m not suggesting we flog ourselves for our mistakes but rather we take an honest look at why they happened and set up flares and barbed wire around the things that led us astray. The new you that you desperately seek will not be found in the health club membership card, it will be found inside of you. We know academically that nations who forget their history are condemned to repeat it. The same logic applies to our personal lives. In this week’s Bible reading, the last of the patriarchs, Jacob, dies. But before he passes away, he gathers all his sons, the future 12 tribes of Israel, to bless them. Jacob, however, knows that in order for his sons to have any chance at a healthy future they have to take a reckoning of their past. In his last breath Jacob scolds those who sinned and points out their faults, their flaws and their misbehavior, as well as their strengths—it’s hardly a touchy-feely Hollywood goodbye scene. He does not accommodate their weaknesses in one everything-will-be-okay- happy-go-lucky blessing. The custodians of the future need to know “what” and “why” they did things wrong in the past and then fix it. Yesterday is not something to run away from like a mugger wanting to take everything away from you, it is rather a guru, a teacher, with something great to give you. So my dear friends, as we accelerate into 2010, don’t forget to take a look into the rear-view mirror once in awhile and to leave your muddied boots on the doormat that read “2009.” ******************* This blog is dedicated to all my Facebook friends. May God be with you always and Happy New Year! Sponsored by: The Wordsmithy the master word smiths for all your editorial needs Pump Fitness where staying fit keeps you pumped for life.