Friday, January 06, 2012

Shining Like The Sun

I wrote these words exactly one year ago today. I think they bear repeating as we start another new year.

Many people start off a new year by making New Year's resolutions. They usually involve dieting, efforts to stop smoking, or exercising more. More often than not they are attempts to improve ourselves as though we are completely inadequate as we are. One of my favorite writers, the monk Thomas Merton, had an epiphany while standing on the corner of 4th and Mohammed Ali here in Louisville in 1958. As a man who entered the monastery to escape the world, he had a sudden moment of clarity in which he realized that he was just like every other member of the human race and he wondered if people realized that they were all "walking around shining like the sun". As this new year unfolds, instead of thinking that you are inadequate and need improvement, tell yourself that you, too, are "walking around shining like the sun". If you want to make some New Year's resolutions, let them be to utilize your strengths and gifts for the enrichment of those around you. Be who you are and recognize your own potential. Focus on that and don't get hung up on your weaknesses. We all have some inadequacy or dysfunction that we struggle with. Even the great St. Paul lamented his "thorn in the flesh". We are never told what that weakness was but we do know it didn't keep him from doing great things. Nelson Mandela has some great words about how we see ourselves.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, or fabulous"?
-Nelson Mandela

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