June 19, 2021

Pastoral Nuggets: A New Perspective for 2021

It is Monday night, December 28th, 2020, as I sit at my computer writing this column.

I have just completed the two hardest assignments of my life.

As I mentioned in last week’s column, my 23-year-old granddaughter, Abbie McCollough, died very suddenly and unexpectedly on December 20th, 2020.

Today, I conducted her memorial service. This is the second hardest thing I have ever had to do. The hardest was walking into the funeral home December 26th, 2020 and seeing that gorgeous angel in a casket.

Oh, my! Life is tough, but God is good! His grace is indeed sufficient. So, quite naturally, like everybody else in America, I am glad to see 2020 coming to an end.  It has been a horrible, no good, very bad year!

As I pondered about what to write, I decided not to belabor my granddaughter’s death. I am not the first to sufferer tragedy, nor will I be the last.

So, as I was thinking about what to write, the Lord allowed me to come across the following article on Facebook. I have no idea who wrote it, or I would give credit.

But it light of how horrific the year 2020 has been, and for me and Marianne, especially the last eight days, I thought this article might bring a change of perspective for all of us as we enter 2021.

“I asked a friend who has crossed 70 & is heading towards 80 what sort of changes he is feeling in himself?  He sent me the following:

  1. After loving my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children and my friends, I have now started loving myself.

  2. I have realized that I am not ‘Atlas.’  The world does not rest on my shoulders.

  3. I have stopped bargaining with vegetable & fruit vendors.  A few pennies more is not going to break me, but it might help the poor fellow save for his daughter’s school fees.

  4. I leave my waitress a big tip.  The extra money might bring a smile to her face.  She is toiling much harder for a living than I am.

  5. I stopped telling the elderly that they’ve already narrated that story many times.  The story makes them walk down memory lane & relive their past.

  6. I have learned not to correct people even when I know they are wrong.  The onus of making everyone perfect is not on me. Peace is more precious than perfection.

  7. I give compliments freely & generously.  Compliments are a mood enhancer not only for the recipient, but also for me.  And a small tip for the recipient of a compliment, never, NEVER turn it down, just say, ‘Thank You.’

  8. I have learned not to bother about a crease or a spot on my shirt.  Personality speaks louder than appearances.

  9. I walk away from people who don’t value me.  They might not know my worth, but I do.

  10. I remain cool when someone plays dirty to outrun me in the rat race.  I am not a rat & neither am I in any race.

  11. I am learning not to be embarrassed by my emotions.  It’s my emotions that make me human.

  12. I have learned that it’s better to drop the ego than to break a relationship.  My ego will keep me aloof, whereas with relationships, I will never be alone.

  13. I have learned to live each day as if it’s the last.  After all, it might be the last.

  14. I am doing what makes me happy.  I am responsible for my happiness, and I owe it to myself. Happiness is a choice. You can be happy at any time, just choose to be!”

Number 2 and number 6 resonated strongly with me. I admit that I have an “Atlas Complex.”

I tend to think that the world rests upon my shoulders. It does not! And I admit that I tend to think it is up to me to “perfect” everybody. It is not.

I am learning that peace is more precious than perfection. I am going to try to incorporate all fourteen of these principles into my perspective for 2021 – especially number 2 and number 6. I hope you will join me on this journey!

Happy New Year!

Brother Aaron

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