Marks In The Snow


I hear a lot of people talking about New Year’s resolutions.   Some say,  “I can’t keep them” or “Aw, I never make resolutions.”  Perhaps the real problem is that we have trouble changing.  We get comfortable in our way of life and even if things aren’t good, at least they are familiar. 


As the years go by, our resolutions seem to lose some enthusiasm.  They might go something like this:


2001 I will walk 3 miles each day on my new treadmill

2002 I will walk on my treadmill at least twice a week

2003 I will stop using my treadmill for a coat rack


In spite of the fact that my own persistence seems to wane as the year wears on, I still like the idea of making resolutions.  It is the spirit of not giving up that is important. 


I think of the year ahead like a carpet of new fallen snow that has not yet been marred by footprints or marks of any kind.  It lies before us so perfect and beautiful but it won’t remain that way for long.  Before we know it, we must get out in the snow and make our own marks and tracks.  Soon, we will see all kinds of impressions and paths in the snow.  We will see everything from clumps of dirty, icy mud to the prints of snow angels made by children at play.


It’s all a part of our attitude.  As we close out the old year, we are on the brink of a brand new set of months ahead of us and we think, “maybe, just maybe I can do better.”  Perhaps, this time, we can lose those extra pounds, give up a bad habit, improve our behavior, or build a better relationship. Alexander Pope said, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast” Even though there are circumstances in our lives that can get us down, we can look forward to beginning again and doing what we can do to improve our lives according to how we are able.


Our resolutions can have a positive effect on other people too.  Some resolutions may even involve asking someone else to join us in reaching a goal.

In case you need some incentive or ideas, I have written a few ideas below:


Take a class:  Learn something new!  Is there something you have always wanted to learn how to do but have just never done it? 

Start an exercising routine:  (Did I say that?)  Beginning an exercise routine will rejuvenate you, increase your energy and improve your health. 


Spend more time with family:  If you have children at home, take one evening a week for family night.  Turn off the TV, VCR, and computer and play games, read stories, or make cookies together.  Have a date night with your spouse or even make a date with your teenager.  My daughter has never forgotten “Dinner with Daddy” with just the two of them spending some time together in a nice restaurant on her birthday.


Clean closets:  Clean out closets and decide what doesn’t fit or what you really want to keep and then donate the extras to charity.  That coat in the closet that just hangs there might keep someone else warm this winter.


Determine to read more: The library is full of books just waiting to be read and it won’t cost you a penny.  Find a brand new book that you are interested in or better yet, a favorite old classic like Tom Sawyer, or Little Women.   A book can keep you company or take you away to lands unknown and books are easy to take with you wherever you go.


Spiritual health:  We do a lot of things for our physical and emotional well-being and often neglect our spiritual health.  C.S. Lewis said about our journey here on earth: "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience."  Maybe it’s a good time to begin a Bible study or become part of a fellowship of believers. 


Forgive someone:  Perhaps there is a friend or relative that you need to forgive.  Forget about whose fault it was and realize that it is the relationship that is important.    Remember that bitterness is an acid that destroys it’s own container.  Let it go and “mend fences” and know a real peace in your heart.


Volunteer:  Many hospitals, churches, nursing homes, and benevolent organizations need volunteers.  This is a great way to start the New Year and you will reap much more than you sow.


As the New Year comes around, what kind of marks will you make in the snow? 



Pamela R. Blaine

© 2003