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My New Year’s Resolution Is To Make No Difference
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I resolve, for the New Year, to not “make a difference.” I must accept what I cannot change and find the strength to change the things I can, to paraphrase a wise prayer. I will remember this year that strength is rarely measured in page views, Facebook likes, or marketing budgets. True strength is strength of character.

I resolve to neither need the status quo nor resent it, but to see it for what it is – the reality. Needing it is imprisonment and needing to change it is imprisonment. A relentless flow of news from around the world assures me that terrible things happening elsewhere are my concern. But while empathy is excellent, delusion is not. I resolve to care for the people in my vicinity on a daily basis, and for myself most of all.

I resolve to mind my own business. People say that minding your own business lets evil grow as no good people bother to stop it. People tend to forget that what makes the evil so bad in the first place is its failure to mind its own business.

I resolve to not read death tallies. Death tallies are only powerful for those who think there is something worth doing before the end. Are we alive because we’re alive, or because we happen to not yet have died?

I resolve to evaluate endeavors before I commit to them. Often, that which seems meaningful is merely a yoke. It says, “I am worth only the difference I make.” That which seems to affect no one but me in my own mind appears inferior. I will spend less time doing, or worse, worrying that I’m not doing. I will spend more time being.

I resolve to fight not just for external freedom but for internal freedom – the freedom to be alone, to think the thoughts I want to think, when I want to think them. One of the great teachers once said that the only difference between a man and a horse is the man’s ability to see a tree and think something other than “look, a tree.”

I resolve to experience wild abandon and childlike joy. They are in everything, from running wildly down the street to turning a page. I hear they can even be found in profound grief. May G-d keep me from knowing.

I resolve to appreciate the here and the now and the is, on its own terms, since it is. Existence is not a simple thing; it is bestowed. So much depends upon a red wheel barrow, glazed with rain water, beside the white chickens. Not upon a metaphor or complex symbol, but upon the wheel barrow itself, a gift from G-d. I will take the time to count my wheel barrows.

I resolve to notice the color of people’s eyes when I first meet them.

I resolve to taste my food.

I resolve to understand the words I read.

I resolve to break free this year. I will find my redemption. It is not hiding behind a police barrier, a soapbox, or a ballot box. It is hiding in a place of mystery deep within my own heart, a fortress with no front entrance only vulnerable from above.

I resolve to step away from the light and into enlightenment. I will find the silent place where I can see the G-d who should disown us but is stuck with us, the one who invented the music. I will find at least one way in which He doesn’t appeal to me. I will do the same thing with his creation. By these I will set my compass.

I resolve to pursue these resolutions not with a fierce sweat-stained striving, but like a cat finds balance on a sun-mottled garden wall, proud to do what it is born to do, warm to the touch in the morning light.


Image from Flickr. Thanks for reminding me about the red wheel barrow, David.


Originally posted on Hevria.

New Years Originally on Hevria passivity skepticism

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