My word of the year

Joel - Timken, Kansas
Entered on January 4, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: change

My word for the year is……………..

I have heard that if I continue to do the same old things, the same old ways, but keep expecting different results….that I am a good candidate for insanity. Sounds like I could use some “change.” Then again, isn’t change what we have been hearing from our politicians, the media, and our neighbors in regards to our struggling economy, poor performing schools, and spiraling health care costs? Change is not only my word for the year, but is quickly becoming the panacea for all that is wrong with America.

Please, don’t label me as just another insensitive critic. I am actually one of those people who like the word “change.” It is often fresh, somewhat confrontational, and always accepted as a legitimate response to when the crap hits the fan. However, I must admit, I like it more when it is directed toward others. Ironically, I am also one of those people who like creating illusions by using colorful descriptions of how I have changed, but never actually alter one behavior. So, you see, change is part of who I am and how I think, but not part of anything I really do.

With the bombardment of television reality shows and our nation’s need to watch pseudo-intimacy, I have become a little more reflective on what constitutes change. It seems like unrestricted confession is in. That is, talking openly about your risky behaviors and therefore making yourself publicly vulnerable. MTV made millions off of it by getting people to check in, stay tuned and enter into a “Real World.” Now, almost every reality show markets its ability to share personal secrets and parade alternative relationship practices. It seemed when I was in my teens and twenty’s I assumed that I being “real” or genuine when I would “confess” something I had done dubiously. I actually believed this is what it means to be honest. I now struggle with what and whom I thought I was being honest. It doesn’t seem to be with myself.

It didn’t take long to see what was missing. So, you ask, what is missing? It is repentance. You know, the term our grandmother used. It seems that I was missing the ability to humble myself beyond confession to include changing my mind, my direction, and my will.” It is what the sages call having a deep desire to turn away from a practice, behavior, or association that keeps you distant from your true self. Hmm…almost sounds life changing, doesn’t it? Maybe because it is only when I truly did desire to turn away and renovate, did I actually change.

As I enter into a New Year with a backdrop that echoes change, my new hope will once again be imbedded in an old principle. My prayer will be one of entering into this unpredictable future with a faith that calls me beyond superficial revising to rededicating myself to genuine transformation.