New Year's is one of my favorite holidays. I love beginnings and clean slates and goals and projections. I love my life and am happy, but, like most people, I have an inner drive for betterment. The quote that has been at the top of this blog for almost five years now, perfectly sums up one of the tenets I lean on in this life.
"Not what we say about our Blessings, but how we use them, is the True Measure of our Thanksgiving" -W.T. Purkiser
There are two pieces that I love about this quote. One is gratitude. To be thankful is one of the most important qualities a person can have. I am very conscience about this. I try to be a good role model of gratitude for my children. When you come from a place of gratitude it colors your view. My children will never have some things--a father, their cousins living next door, a beach house in Maui. But they have so much. They have more than many. They have a wonderful Grandpa and a Papa and a slew of wonderful men who love them. They have cousins they can visit with several times a year in fun places. They live down a dirt road where they can see things like fox squirrels, bald eagles, indigo buntings, wild irises, and dogwoods blooming so pretty in the spring it looks like it has snowed out in the woods. We can look at what we don't have or we can look at what we do have.
The second piece of the quote brings up what we do versus what we say. We can talk all day long but talk is easy. What are we really doing to refine our talents and blessings and gifts? For a long time I was confused by the parable of the talents. I related to the man who buried his talent. At least he knew he wouldn't lose the one thing his master entrusted to him. But now I see it differently, more in line with how others read the parable. When the man buried his one talent, even he didn't have possession of it anymore. The talent was of no use to anyone. We must use what we are given. We must grow it, refine it, polish it, share it, cultivate it, study it.
At the beginning of 2011 I chose a word to live by, a word to continuously contemplate. I chose intention. I think I am going to stay with that word for 2012. I want to be more intentional. When we are intentional we are being active and engaged. Even if the choice is to sit down for 10 minutes and drink a cup of coffee, to be intentional makes the choice an event, more important. To be intentional is, I believe, to use our talents and appreciate our gifts. To be intentional makes us participants in our own lives. We engage with the gifts and talents we have been given. To engage and interact then increases our measure of our thankfulness.
Happy New Year to you and yours.