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Published:January 3rd, 2012 08:52 EST
Reflections on The Year Gone By

Reflections on The Year Gone By

By Ignatius Fernandez

Time is what we want most, but what alas we use worst. -William Penn

Another year has ended - all of 365 days. Those days slipped by like water through our fingers " unnoticed. In the year gone by much happened to us. We had many joys and some sorrows; some successes and a few failures; some gains and a few losses; some days were diamond and some were stone. Sadness and disappointment played like low decibel music in the background, as we tackled different tasks. In retrospect, we are not happy at the way the year sped past; the bouquet of images that we see has an assortment of flowers and leaves, not all roses. It could have been better if we gardened better. It could have been more fruitful if we realized that there were no mistakes, only lessons in the happenings of the year; and the only mistake was the one from which we learnt nothing. Of course, what hit us hardest was the lesson that time wasted will not be recycled.

Last year at this time we had with us some who have since passed away " they have joined the army that sleep beneath the sod. Will we be around, next year at this time? We do not know. Death is certain; what is uncertain is the time it will visit us. When it comes, are we ready to cut loose of our attachments? Death reminds us, if only we care to ponder, that we have not much time left and that the only things we really lose are those we try to keep. We are one year older and one year nearer to the grave. That should be a sobering thought.

Isn`t it time to reflect on how we plan to use this year "a gift to us from God" so that we have fewer regrets when it ends? When we plan and act we get results; when we don`t we get consequences.

Let us consider our relationships because our greatest wealth is not measured in terms of riches, but relationships; and the quality of life will come down to the contribution we make to enrich and build relationships; only by giving and not by taking.

How do we relate to our spouses? Often uncharitable words escape our peevish lips, spiteful glances tell of our anger and harsh thoughts race across our envious minds. We display anything but commonsense in transacting with our spouses because we take them for granted. There is the flip side though. Some spouses are difficult. They revel in their quarrelsome roles. We could retaliate or choose to love, even when it is tough on us, because those who deserve love the least need it the most and in relating to them we should wrap difficult truth in the language of love.

What about others in our circle - Children, parents, siblings, relations, friends and strangers (friends, we have not met)? How have we enriched them; have we been enriched by them? In transacting with them we tend to judge ourselves by our ideals and them by their actions. Such double standards have to give way to generosity " the generosity of touching their hearts with nothing less than our own. Then, caressed by an unseen hand, we discover that some of them really care.

Can we develop new skills, add to our knowledge and become more accessible? Can we do something to add power to our personalities, without weight; and force without strain? Can we become better professionals and not those crazed about money, power and pleasure?

Many opportunities came our way last year. In responding to them we had some hits and many misses. This year can we improve on the hit ratio by extracting gold from opportunities rather than waiting for golden opportunities?

Are we ready to give up some annoying habits and take on some rewarding ones through extra and consistent effort? Change a habit and change a life, is a popular refrain. Shall we resolve to make that happen? When that happens we will stop plying the same old shuttle in the same old loom of life.

Ultimately, it boils down to the choices we make:

a) Of accepting God in our lives

b) Of appraising our relationships

c) Of objectively evaluating our performance

d) Of making changes in our life-style to match our new goals.

Let this year not pass like the others before. Until now we promised according to our hopes and performed according to our fears. Now let us not fall from our high resolve as we grapple with the mystery of pain, sorrow and disappointment. A new year is beckoning " let us go to it with high hope and purpose. The fact that we don`t have forever should spur us onwards and to change.