I’m reminded of the lyrics of a song, ‘closing time, every new beginning is another new beginning’s end.’ Even before we have realised it we have come to the end of a year and the new year is here. Although this gives us a good opportunity to take stock of our lives, to begin afresh, to make amends, and to re-evaluate our priorities we must realise that the only constant in the midst of these minutes, hours and years is you. You don’t somehow become new every new year. Every new resolution you make must be viewed in light of the ‘same old you’ who is making that decision. Therefore, there is no point in making new year resolutions if you don’t deal with the one who is making those decisions.
Ironically, we have no time to find out who is making those decisions. We try hard to live with others but do we know what it means to live with ourselves? It is a frightening thing to live with someone you do not know. Yet that is exactly what we do with ourselves. We are a frantic generation afraid to look within. A moment of silent reflection is disturbing and makes us restless. We need our phones, head phones and other temptations to keep us occupied. It is not fashionable to be calm. We are keen to talk about our achievements and sometimes even our losses. But the one thing we will avoid is, squarely looking at ourselves.
It is quite an exciting endeavour to look within. Although man is not at the centre of the universe he is an explosive character. The natural and the supernatural are one in him. He is created out of the dust of the earth and also possesses the breath of God in him. We are atomic explosions!
Gautama Buddha said that the idea of the individual does not exist. The ‘I’ is in a constant state of flux. Every moment you are recreated. This is an interesting thought yet it poses a problem to us. Who is being recreated? If every moment there is a new you then, who are you? Where are you? And who is the person in a constant state of flux? The conclusion Buddha says, there is no you.
Whereas in Christianity we agree with the analysis of the problem but differ in our conclusion. Christians believe that the individual is a ‘person’ created in the image of God with a nature that can be influenced by our experiences. Granted our nature is in a constant state of flux but our personhood is intact. It is our nature that influences us to respond in certain ways but it is the person that carries out these actions. Nature is, what we are and do. Person is, who we are. We are unique individuals that cannot be duplicated. We are free and in possession of self-worth. You exist and you are worthy!
Akbar the great once drew a line on the floor and commanded his courtiers to make the line shorter, without erasing any part of it. An awkward silence fell over the court. Then Birbal, his minister, approached the line and drew a longer line next to Akbar’s line. Everyone in the court including Akbar realised that the first line had become shorter.
We sometimes live as though our time-line is all that there is. If we look at our time-line it is full of success and failure in our work and relationships. Understandably if we look within long enough we might come out either disillusioned or mad with pride. But once we are made aware of eternity beside our time-line, things can be different for us. We now have a reference point to evaluate our success and failure. It gives us perspective. The disillusioned ones will be illuminated and the proud ones will come to terms with reality.
The load is lifted. We are not alone. We have the eternal one by our side. In fact, the eternal one became flesh and lived with us. God and man became one! Another explosion!
We are now made aware, as C.S.Lewis remarked, of how every action of ours is turning us into either heavenly or hellish creatures. As we look back on the year that has gone by and look towards the future it might be a good idea to evaluate our lives against eternity and make the necessary changes within. Our nature which is constantly fluctuating and twitching about can be broken like a restless horse is tamed by a good master if we allow Christ to enter every fabric of our existence to re-align every area of our being. This could make our resolutions meaningful and – if you really want to – maybe even a reality.