In the New Year

January 3, 2019
  • Rev. Abhi Janamanchi

I am a total disaster when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.

I am really good at coming up with them- the list for personal improvement is long and spectacular (and pretty much the same every year!).

It’s just keeping them that I’m not so good at despite spurts of motivation or guilt or desperation.

On my own, I’m just not reliable. I need you-- all of you.

I need the loved ones, the wisdom teachers, the prophetic activists, the wise colleagues, the wounded healers, the youth, the young adults, the children.

I need the revolutionary love that will not let me go, let me down, or let me off the hook.

I need collective covenanting, mutual accountability, loving kindness, and vision.

And I need to be released from holding rigid and unhealthy expectations about myself & others and be pointed toward holy possibilities.

You see, there is a difference between expectations and possibilities. Expectations assume a certain end-result. They tend to narrow our options, restrict our imagination, and hold our present well-being hostage for an uncertain future.

As Phillip Moffit puts it:

“When you are controlled by your expectations, you are living a contingent life; you cannot be free in the present moment. You cannot be happy with a beautiful sunset or with a moment of warmth between you and another; instead, every experience is interpreted in the context of an expected future.”

Possibilities, on the other hand, are rooted in the present moment. They invite us to be present to the mystery and wonder of life; to live each moment fully as if it were our last moment; and, to be open ourselves to what life is calling us to be.

Being open to possibilities recognizes that what we think we want from life changes with time, or that there are other futures that will bring us equal or more joy, or not. It releases us from the burden of having to figure everything out by ourselves and of believing that we are in control.

Living life that is open to possibilities is more like a prayer, a request, an act of faith. It is about intention rather than resolution. It is being responsive rather than reactive to life as it unfolds.

I close with these words adapted from the Revs. Gretchen Haley & Susan Manker-Seale:

In this New Year, may we make space for a new breath,
A new healing, a new possibility to take root
That is courage forged in the fire
Of our coming together and being together
And felt in the spirit that comes alive
In this act of faith:
That we believe still, a new world is possible
That we are co-creating it, already, here and now.

May we help each other to
proclaim the possibilities we see,
create the community we desire,
worship what is worthy in our lives,
teach the truth as we know it,
and to serve justice in all the ways that we can,
to the end that our yearning is assuaged
and our lives fulfilled in one another.

May it be so.