Reassessing New Year’s resolutions . . .

Turtle Talk

Once again we stand at the beginning of another New (Gregorian) Year! The thought of how many of our personal relatives, friends and acquaintances cannot make this statement should in itself be a sobering one. Yet I would like to share with you a favorite rediscovered “Resolution for the New Year Ahead” to consider.

“I am a tenant on this earth, Lord. A lucky soul to whom You’ve given a generous lease of life. The rent? You’ve ask for none – except that I have faith and live accordingly. And so I dedicate this year to You, Lord; with a promise to improve–in spirit, mind and body– the rundown property that bears my name. This year I’ll try to keep the house where I reside as You would have me keep it – structure firm, chambers clean, windows shining from inside with such a light that passersby will stop to ask, “Who lives here” or “who owns this lovely place?” And I shall tell them with a humble nod, “I’m just a tenant here; the Owner who deserves your praise is God.”

This attitude of humility and gratitude must surely set the tone for a beautiful year of self-searching and servitude, the highest degree of worship- by individuals–who comprise nations, especially this revered American nation once it learns to lead by example and not by force.

This “structure firm” is unattainable, however, on its present original beams of dispossession and massacre of original inhabitants of a land that they themselves had come in quest of freedom; beams of importation of hundreds of thousands of slaves whose toil helped clear the woods, drain the swamps, raise and harvest crops. And while fearful of a stern God and professing to do His will, they produced a government of laws and much lawlessness that continues to impede America’s progress toward her high destiny. Tarnished by such impurities in which many still take pride, her Congressional “chambers” will never become clean and through her tinted windows no passerby will ever ask with pride, “Who lives here or owns this lovely, equitably and admirably run household?”

Two primary detriments to her housecleaning of multiple prejudices remain those of race and the inequality of men and women. According to a statement issued some 40 years ago by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, “Racism is the most challenging issue confronting America. To ignore the problem is to expose the country to physical, moral and spiritual danger…America’s peace, prosperity and even her standing in the international community depend on healing the wounds of racism and building a society in which people of diverse backgrounds live as members of one family…In no other country is the promise of organic unity more immediately demonstrable than the United States because it is a microcosm of the diverse populations of the earth.”

From another statement from the Baha’i NSA incorporated in a booklet entitled “Two Wings of a Bird” we glean: “The world in the past has been ruled by force and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting; force is losing its dominance and mental alertness, intuition and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy…As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest potentialities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs…When women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world,…war will cease!”

Then, from a broader perspective, along with shedding a few pounds, stop smoking and other admirable personal resolutions, may we firmly resolve, as men and nations, to Dedicate this year to You, Lord, that we may form those attitudes and actions that will make and keep our total “structure firm,” the chambers of our mind, body and spirit clean that the windows of our heart and very soul may reflect and demonstrate the lost art of dignity, assuring a…

HAPPY NEW YEAR for ALL!