Friday, January 1, 2016

Changes and Challenges for a New Year

Happy New Year !  Welcome to 2016 !

We just finished watching the Rose Parade, a New Year's Day tradition in our house.  The Rose Bowl is coming right up.

Some things do not change.  However, some things do change, especially if we will allow them to, and even more so if we will help bring about the change.

Yesterday I visited my favorite used book store, rented two new best sellers (which I think is a wonderful innovation that allows me to read all the new books for a fraction of the cost of buying them) and wished the owner a happy new year.

The LOC* is presently preoccupied with watching as many of the forty football "bowl games" as he can possibly manage.  I can remember when there were really only about three or four bowl games.

The Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and of course, the Rose Bowl.  Now we have every thing from the Dingy Bowl to the Pot-Sticker Bowl.  In my opinion, the whole thing has been bowled blown out of all proportion.

Hence, my need for at least two books to read over the weekend, as there will be nothing on our TV that does not involve tackling, passing, running, kicking and scoring.  I like football, but let us remember "all things in moderation" - hmmm?

David (aka the LOC) believes in moderation in all things other than football.

So I am reading pleasantly along, cup of tea at the ready, looking up to watch a few dozen robins hop in and out of the bird bath in the frosty backyard, when I turn the page to discover a piece of paper tucked into my current book that I did not put there. It is a piece of mail, apparently accidentally left there by the prior reader.

Well, my goodness, look at that.  She only lives about six blocks from us. I do not know her and I quickly tore up the paper to respect her privacy.

However, what really caught my attention was the name of the street in the address. Rosebud. It is a pretty street with lovely houses lining it.  I have often driven down it.  Rosebud.

Then I immediately thought of the association with the word "rosebud" that anyone familiar with the movie classic Citizen Kane would recall.  It is the last word whispered by the rich, powerful, and utterly alone antagonist played by Orson Wells.  It is the name of a beloved family member from whom he has long been
estranged; and as he dies, lonely and very alone in his vast mansion, it is the name on his lips as he draws his last breath.  Rosebud.

The scene is iconic in American movie-lore, and despite the fact that the move is over sixty or seventy years old, it still represents much of what is wrong with American society.  Kane chose wealth, fame, and power, over love and loyalty. 

To say his priorities were backwards is an understatement indeed.  They were so wrong as to be cruel and even evil.  A cautionary tale for sure.

Throughout his life he had many opportunities to make different choices than the ones which led to his wretched circumstances at his death.  Each time he chose selfishly, in favor of greed, power, self-aggrandizement. The results of those life-long choices, however, were not what he wanted them to be.  His end was simply the logical consequence of his day-to-day choices.  He could have chosen to change at any point in his journey, but he did not.
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Today we begin a new year.  And as is the case each day, today is also the first day of the rest of my life, and of yours, however long or short that may be.

This year will present each of us with changes and challenges.  Some of which we will eagerly embrace, and others which we would not have willingly taken on.  As writer Margaret Feinberg says, "Sometimes you choose the fight, sometimes the fight chooses you." 

Whatever the struggles, challenges, changes, and yes, even fights, may come my way this year, I hope I can make choices that will lead to good things.  Good outcomes. Good relationships.  Good living.

Certainly some changes are welcome and some are not.  But for each one, we have a choice as to how we respond.  Our challenges may help shape us, but it is our choices that define us.

Hope your 2016 is a good year.  May you have happy days, healthy and strong relationships, and may you make good choices throughout the coming year. And as Tiny Tim famously said, "God bless us one and all."
Happy New Year ~ Marsha
(*Lovable Old Coot)