Beginnings (January 1)

 

“The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it” (W. M. Lewis).

WITH THE DAWNING OF EVERY NEW DAY WE’RE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE NEW BEGINNINGS. And though we often take it for granted, the clean slate that is offered to us each morning is one of the best things about our sojourn in this world. Why is it that we so rarely seize this advantage? Why are there so many days in which nothing is improved and nothing new is begun?

Perhaps we don’t want to be like the dabblers, those unhappy folks who never follow through and are constantly starting over. But the thing that’s dishonorable about the dabbler is not that he makes new beginnings; it’s just that he fails to do his best and finish his work. Starting over is necessary for him because he frequently gives up and quits trying. But if yesterday’s work was the best we could do, then there is nothing dishonorable about seeing today as a fresh start. And if yesterday we failed to do our best, then a new beginning is even more important. We should see today as a chance, after all this time, to start being what we’ve always intended to be.

It may seem ironic, but there is a sense in which those who make the most progress in life are those who go back to the beginning every day and start over. We do need to be persistent, but improvement is the main thing we need to be persistent about. Those who finish life well are those who make a habit of beginning anew every day.

But we shouldn’t make new beginnings just for our own sakes — we should view them as gifts to our loved ones. Indeed, there are few gifts that bestow any more honor on those around us than to give ourselves to them each day as persons of renewed commitment, eager to explore new territory and build new habitations for the heart. There is in every one of us a better person than our acquaintances have known us to be in the past. Today — this very day — we can begin to be that better person. We can make a fresh start that will do our families and our friends much good.

“Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute! What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin, and then the work will be completed” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com