RITE OF PASSAGE: New Year’s resolutions
Does anyone really care about New Year’s resolutions? If so, their concern doesn’t usually last longer than Jan. 4. That’s exactly one day longer than I thought about my own New Year’s resolutions last year, not to mention anyone else’s.
For example, I’ve never been to a Fourth of July picnic where someone asked me whether I was still holding fast to that old resolution. Either I have extremely rotten friends, or maybe they care less about the resolutions and more about . . . me. Today, I would like to state for the record that you, my Baptist Messenger readers, are no longer bound or obligated to any resolutions you made on or prior to Jan. 1.
Every year at about this time, though, I give serious thought to improving my life. I have come to recognize the real problem: I like the way I am, and the reason I do some things wrong is because I enjoy doing them that way. For example, I know I should spend more time on diet and exercise. I thought I might have an overactive thyroid. Instead, my doctor diagnosed me with an incurable condition: an overactive . . . fork. I could also improve my life by keeping my desk cleaner, but I don’t work well at a clean desk. Clutter actually inspires me. The way my desk looks today, I should win a Pulitzer Prize . . . any time.
An even better way to discover improvements I could make is to ask my wife. Since she is the highly organized one in our relationship, she would no doubt arrange “Walker’s Need to Improve List” according to the rooms in our house:
– Bathroom: Hang up your wet towel neatly on the towel rack. Yes, yours is the one that smells like mildew. No, towels wadded up and stuffed into the towel rack don’t count. You could also do a better job of cleaning your toothpaste out of the sink and putting your clothes all the way into the clothes hamper. “Close” only counts in the game of horseshoes. (I am closer this year than last year, but I don’t get any credit for that.)
– Bedroom: Don’t leave your shoes out in the middle of the room. Someone might trip over them in the middle of night. (She doesn’t know that this is my way of discouraging burglars.) When removing your clothes, don’t start at the doorway and leave a trail to the bed. It makes our bedroom look as though the rapture has occurred. (She has a good point here. When that day comes, I want to be . . . sure.) Also, the clothesbasket is not an extra drawer. Remove your clothes, place them neatly inside your dresser drawers and return the empty basket downstairs. (Even on a good day, that’s a lot to remember. Just ask your children.)
– Living room: Put all your remote controls away at the end of the night. Otherwise, our house starts to look like a pawnshop. Keep no more than two drinking glasses out at a time, and make sure you place them on coasters. Please, when you finish reading a magazine or newspaper, don’t throw it on the floor next to your chair. (She’s forgetting that my chair is a . . . La-Z-Boy.)
– Kitchen: You can wire up a 7.1 Dolby digital surround sound system blindfolded and fix a broken computer. Isn’t it time you learned to operate the dishwasher? For your information, the garbage men come on Wednesday and Saturday this year. Last year, they came on Wednesday and Saturday. And next year, they will also come on Wednesday and Saturday. Therefore, I do not need to remind you at 10 o’clock every Tuesday and Friday night to take the trash to the curb. And please stop giving me that dumb look. (I’m not sure what she means by “dumb look,” but I am sure that I don’t want to . . . know.)
– Garage: If you get a tool out, put it up. Enough said. (She’s right. It’s more than enough.)
Whew, that’s a lot for one guy to work on! As I continued thinking about the New Year, I realized that the best way to find out about improving my life was to ask Jesus for His ideas. After all, He made it clear: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:36-39)
This year, I have resolved to work on Jesus’ list . . . first.