I have this thing, every year at about this time I begin to look back at what I did and think "I need to finish something big I started." I feel like a bit of a failure if I didn't meet a New Years resolution, accomplish a huge task everyone recognized, or finish that paper so I'd receive my Master's (yeah, yeah, yeah I know!). So I begin a mad dash and end up pulling my hair out for the last weeks of the year because I don't think I did anything of value, because I didn't finish anything big. Well like a lot of things I've done this year, I'm going to look at things a little differently right now.
Yes I haven't gotten the big rewards that I wanted this year. Every New Year I make big plans, and then when they don't happen I become disappointed. In 2011 I was going to graduate with my Master's, find a high paying job that I loved, find the man I was going to marry, and somehow think that those things would make me happy and my life complete. What I really learned in 2011 has been that happiness is something that only I can create for myself, and there is no map of life, sometimes you have to just wing it and trust that you're on the right path.
Because my things are in storage I have forgotten a prayer that I used to have hanging above my desk. I was reminded of it the other day and looked it up online. Thomas Merton was a 20th century Catholic writer and mystic. A Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. I have always found him interesting due to the fact that he, unlike many religious writers, admits to having doubts in his faith. He never hid his struggles and you can read about them in his works. I always loved this prayer though. I thought I understood what it meant before. In many instances I have felt lost, but right now as I struggle to find my path this prayer means a lot more.
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
- "Prayer from the Path" Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
Yes the clock is ticking down on the year, and no I don't have those big accomplishments to show. I know there is a reason though that I haven't accomplished them yet. I don't know my path, and I admit that I am scared. Faith is a scary word, and I've always had little of it. This December though I'm not going to rush to try and accomplish some goals that I know I can never get done in the last few weeks of the year. I'm going to look back and see what I have already done and be proud of that. I'm then going to have faith that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing right now, and enjoy my time with my friends and family.
I encourage you to do the same. Stop trying to meet all those goals that really aren't a big deal, look back at what you did do and be proud. It might not be the big thing you thought you would accomplish, but hey at least you did something! Have faith that there is a reason that things are happening the way that they are, and although you may not understand it, we are never alone while doing it.
Happy Holiday's! =)