In The Absence Of New Years Resolutions, I Resolve… — In a few days we will all watch 2015 disappear to the pages of history, to be replaced with all the mystery that a new year brings.
Many will take this time to define and chart out one or several New Years Resolutions in hopes of getting a better job, losing the 10…15…20 pounds that crept on in 2015, or possibly to add a new one to the family. It’s a tradition which dates back hundreds of years.
Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions. There are other religious parallels to this tradition. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Christian liturgical season of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility, in fact the practice of New Year’s resolutions partially came from the Lenten sacrifices. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year’s_resolution)
We all have our own way of ushering in a New Year, and for those who create new resolutions each year, they are haunted by the staunch reality that 88 percent of those resolutions will fail to be realized.
Perhaps I am different, certainly as a writer it’s rare and often considered improper to write in the first person, but the reflective ushering in of a New Year is a personal matter.
In The Absence Of New Years Resolutions, I Resolve…
I do not come to a New Years Eve laden with empty words wasted upon a page destined for antiquity. Instead, I come to pause and remind myself of the values I hold dear in my life and the standard under which I continue to move forward.
Throughout life I have held to a creed — a set of 5 personal rules by which I stand. It hasn’t been easy. There have been those who have resented my stand, and many have tried to test it, but by these five rules I stand firm.
Rule #1 — I resolve to stay true to myself no matter the outside opinion or influence.
In life there will always be those who try to sway you to do their bidding; those who play head games; or try to make you jump through hoops in an attempt turn you into their puppet. There will be those who test your resolve simply to see where you might falter. In the face of such, people will try to chip away at your core identity, and there is nothing worse than to wake up one day no longer recognizing who you have become.
Rule #2 — I resolve to not ask anything of any person that I am not prepared to try and do myself.
In 1835, several thousands of armed troops gathered around a small insignificant church. Inside the church were 183 volunteers who gathered for one purpose, and one purpose alone–to take a stand against tyranny and oppression and fight for independence. Most of us know the story of where men such as William Travis, Davie Crockett, and Jim Bowie met their gallant ends, but few of us remember of even know of James Bonham.
In the face of undeniable odds, it was decided that a messenger would try to slip past Santa Anna’s men and rush to Goliad in hopes of bringing back reinforcements from the Texas Army. In Goliad, James Bonham received the word that there were no troops to spare.
Reflecting on the gravity of the response, James Bonham realized that he couldn’t ask those 182 men in the Alamo to do something he wasn’t prepared to do himself. In Goliad, there was one man who could be spared to help defend the Alamo — James Bonham. Mounting his horse, and understanding the consequences of his decision, James Bonham sunk his spurs deep into the sides of his horse and galloped back to stand beside the defenders of the Alamo.
James Bonham understood the importance of never asking someone to do what he himself was not prepared to try to do. Some might say he was crazy, perhaps suicidal, and they would be wrong. James Bonham understood what we all too often forget: courage is all about being scared to death, yet in spite of personal fear, choosing to sink your spur, charging head on into the frey.
Rule #3 — I resolve to not bend my knee to any man or woman save but my God and Queen.
In life, and I know this all too well, there will be those who try to break you down, and each of us will come to a place in time where we will have to decide where we can compromise, or where we can make changes in our lives. Each of these decisions will involve small areas of our individual lives. But, then there are those who push through tyranny or oppression to beat you down to a full surrender. This requires a complete breaking of the human spirit. We must all choose in life, as to when and where we must be willing to stand without compromise.
Those who know me well, know that I don’t consider myself to be a religious man. To me, religion is nothing more than a festered pus-filled imitation of what true spirituality should be. When my time on this world comes to an end, should I arrive at the great pearly gates I have heard so much about as a child, and should God find it within Himself to greet me, then I will bend my knee in full surrender and ask the questions that fill my heart.
I will forever be the one to who is willing to bend my knee in full surrender, but only to my Queen, and when the end of my time on this earth comes, to my God.
Rule #4 — I resolve to be slow and cautiously selective in choosing who I will bring into my circle of influence.
Trust must be earned and proven over time, and it cannot exist without unwaivering loyalty.
True committment always starts in the heart of a person, and it is always tested or measured by the actions that result from one’s heart. We will forever be only as strong as the weakest link in the chain of people we bring around us. For this reason it is critical that we all should be the weakest link in our own individual chains of influence. Greater achievement, greater accomplishment can only come from a deeply committed and loyal effort.
It is the way of a fool to offer up trust to one who has not taken the time to prove himself or herself worthy of such.
Rule #5 — Woe to any family member, friend, or foe who comes between myself and a good woman, for this is my unforgivable sin, and with these people there will be no second chance.
Twice in my post divorce years, people have tested me on this one stand, and each time, it’s been the religious community who’ve done so. Few things in this world are as rare as a good woman. Only a fool or idiot would dare to drive a wedge between a man and a good woman, and there’s no room in my world for fools or idiots. Consequently, there’s no longer any room in my world for the foolish ways of a manipulative mis-guided and oppresive religious community.
In The Absence Of New Years Resolutions, I Resolve…
My positions in life are not always popular. I have never walked through life pretending to be in a popularity contest. I was raised to be prepared to stand for something.
As a child growing up, in the basement of my home was a small den or personal office that my father kept as his space. As children, any time we entered his office, there was a reverence and respect for the things found in every corner. As an adult, I have forgotten many of the specific things located around his office, but one thing has stood out in my mind through out the years, a small carved sign on Dad’s desk which simply said, “Others may, I cannot.”
There will always be those, who in this world are content to simply be one of the crowd, and then there will be those who were raised under the flag which read, “Others may, I cannot.” The latter know that “a line drawn in the sand”, is “a line drawn in the sand”.
As 2016 quickly comes calling, I am reminded of my resolve. I am reminded that not all, in fact many, will never understand my resolve. In life, there are many areas where I can bend, but when it comes to the 5 rules by which I stand, if asked to soften for even a minute, my response will always be, “Others may, I cannot.”
Not every person will understand my resolve, and that’s okay. It’s not for them to understand, it’s for me, and me alone to understand.