By: Dr. Gary Buzbee
We have made it through Christmas and if you are like me excited to get the New Year started. We will soon be done with cheese balls, Chex mix and non- stop grazing. We can put structure back in our lives and return to whatever is normal for us.
I have always been amused by New Year’s traditions. One that stuck with me, stems from my Oklahoma upbringing. EVERY New Year’s Eve we went to church for a New Year’s Eve watch party. This would entail being divided into age-appropriate groups and then doing age-appropriate activities. I remember my ascension into the teenage group. Our “Leader” would be an older high school student or maybe a college student. WOW! We would play Charades, Bingo (with prizes) and various board games. One thing for sure, there was no dancing. There would be lots of food-French Onion Dip and potato chips and all the soda you could ever want. This was in the sixties, it is ok.
As it got closer to midnight, the mood became more serious. It started as a “light devotional” lead by one of our leaders and progressed to a ”heavier tone” lead by a more senior leader. There is no free lunch, this was the pay back for the chips, dip and soda.
We were asked to reflect on our year, the positives and the negatives. Then we were given a piece of paper and a pencil and asked to write down our sins. This was to be personal and we were not to share with anyone. This was hard for me. I was barely thirteen. I had never smoked, I went to church every time the door was opened and if I had gotten in trouble at school it would have been nothing compared to what would have happened at home. I might have bickered with a brother or two, but is that really a sin? I was stumped. I wondered if I could make a list of “future” sins I might commit? When it was announced that we had five more minutes, I realized I was sinning because I did not want to do this. I still did not know what would happen with the lists we had made. Then our leader explained. Just before midnight we were going to “burn our sins”. I quickly made my choice of sin the fact I did not want to participate. We lined up and ritualistically threw our list into the fireplace. Shazam! Boom! Pop! All of our sins for 1962 were gone. Ready to start with a clean slate for 1963!
Maybe this is why I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. However, I am all over setting goals for the new year. Sadly, my goals has been the same for the last few years. Especially one. I want to be able to balance on one leg with my arms out like I am flying in exercise class. I can do it for a bit then I lose my balance. Almost everyone else looks like picturesque statues and I look like a flailing bird. I have learned one thing-I am better if I can hold on to something. Even a fingertip on a wall makes all the difference.
Isn’t life in general a little better if we can hold onto something? I think I will have a new goal this year. I will hold onto the beliefs, principles and values I have. They will be my fingertip on the wall. I bet I will be more balanced.
Have a great and balanced New Year!