2019

Happy New Year! 2019. It truly is a time to take stock, look forward, and set goals. Some may question the importance of marking a new year, but, Biblically speaking, we are told that God has given us time in order that we might mark the days, months, seasons and years. (And then there is the comedian who proffered that God gave us time so everything wouldn’t happen at once.) In any event, I’m guessing at least some of you have made resolutions for 2019, set goals of some sort, and thought of 2019 as a new beginning. A kind of reset button for our lives. I think that’s a good thing.

But what kind of goals should we set? What kinds of resolutions? Tara Parker-Pope, in an article in the New York Times, offered an answer to these questions. She is the founding editor of Well, The Times’s award-winning consumer health site. She won an Emmy in 2013 for the video series “Life, Interrupted” and is the author of “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage.” @taraparkerpope In her 20 years of writing about health she has come to realize wellness can be summed up in four words. That’s it. Four words.

Move. Nourish. Refresh. Connect.

I don’t think I need to add much to these four words in order to make sense out of them. I mean, movement (some might say exercise) is acknowledged by health experts as very important for us. And it doesn’t have to be a lot. I walk two miles every day (well, most days anyway). I play golf about once a week, and when I can I walk.

Nourishment is not to be equated with anything we can get from a drive thru window. I’ve actually discovered it is less expensive and tastier if I buy fresh food and prepare it at home. I’ve also come to realize that many people don’t know how to cook! So I’m going to be offering a basic cooking class on Saturdays, beginning February 2nd. 

Refreshment really has to do with self care. Quiet time. Or time doing something you really love to do, like a hobby or activity. When was the last time you read a good book? Or saw a movie? The Bible gives us the proper ratio of work to rest. 6 to 1. Six days we work, one day we rest. But it is intended to be a Sabbath rest. A time for disconnection from all things work related, and time to simply be.

And connection does not include Facebook or Twitter. No, connection is more personal. Conversation with someone over a cup of coffee. Eating dinner together with family without distractions like TV, or Smart Phones. Hanging out with friends and loved ones. I just celebrated my 71st birthday and the best part of it was simply spending time with my wife and some friends. Good food, great conversation and lots of laughter. Connection.

So that’s it. Actually I would add a couple of other things. They are easy to do. But, they are also easy not to do.

Be grateful. Be hopeful. Be compassionate. Be forgiving.

If the only prayer you ever say is “Thank you God,” that is enough. If you can move beyond a false kind of optimism that is never satisfying, and live with the hope that, in the end, all will be well, that is life changing. If you can live compassionately, which is to say you grow in the ability to empathize with others and their plight, that is humanizing. And if you can forgive. Yourself. Those who have hurt you. You will know the way of God.

It’s called the power of love.