Two years ago (yeah, I skipped a year) I chose a word to remember for the 365 days ahead, to keep me on a path, to lead me toward a better self, a word around which to frame my mind and incline my heart. In 2011 the word was forgive. And yes, I'm still working on that one. God, I hope so.
After the horrible, terrible, awful in Newtown, CT (only 9 miles from my home), I had posted this on Facebook: "Consider this: individual freedom is like the right of way - it's not something we can possess but only yield to others for the sake of living peacefully, cooperatively in community." Since Dec. 14, 2012 I have been even more disturbed by our seemingly unique American inability to yield, not only as it relates to the second amendment but in any way that infringes on our individuality.
The driving lane one chooses seems to be thought of as personal real estate, rather than something we use temporarily and share with others.
The language we use, even if filled with hate, is protected by the first amendment, so because we can means we should.
We inundate the web with our photos and the minutiae of our lives, yet we think we can still retain and have a right to, some measure of privacy.
We're all about the line, the queue -- God forbid someone cuts in front of us or moves too slowly but please, just let me squeeze in here, it's urgent, I'm having a senior moment, I forgot where I was going, I just have a few things, but I won't allow you the same mercy.
I'm entitled to what I have, I earned it, it's mine. If you want what I have, work for it. If you need help, work for it. Otherwise, you're just a parasite.
If you haven't guessed already, the word for 2013 is yield. Most of the time, resistance really is futile. Unless you've been seized by the Borg, most of what we encounter on a day-to-day basis is pretty tame. The only thing we truly can control is ourselves. Resisting the idiocyncracies (I spelled it that way on purpose) of others only hardens our arteries and reinforces the cycle of misery, numbing behaviors, and self-loathing.
Ironically we don't resist with any great resolve the actual evil with a capital "E" that surrounds us. We've yielded quite nicely to it in some ways, thank you very much. There is always more to do in that department. Thank God Lent is on its way. For now, though, I'll stick with softening my heart rather than steeling it, like Kevlar. I've had enough of that.
Yield, as in compassion, mercy, kindness, and patience.
And of course, yield to God - thy will, not mine, be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Maybe now those neck problems I've been having will go away.