By Rene Allen
With this essay I complete the circle. Last year I wrote on January 1. Today is the 31st of December. It is time to close the book on 2007. As I recall, I had a list of resolutions, all of which I made progress on, but none of which I completely realized. At least there is comfort in progress.
This year I have only one resolution. It came to me after I prepared last weeks’ Gospel Doctrine lesson. I love preparing for these lessons. During the quiet, early morning hours when all I hear is the soft hum of my laptop’s fan and the click of my fingers on the keys, I am not distracted from the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost. It is a lovely feeling: the spiritual nudges that come to emphasize this part or that of the lesson, how to present it in a way that will invite class participation and bring the presence of the Spirit.
Last week, we reviewed the Christmas story. As I prepared, I sat at the kitchen table pulling pictures of the Savior from my gospel-in-art file. I went through the stack and studied them, recalling the many stories of Jesus Christ that we had studied during the year. With each one, the Spirit whispered “Rene, He is real. He lived here, on the earth. He died for you. He is real.”
It was a profound moment for me as I felt the reality of His life in a deeper and more personal way. It also became the foundation for the single New Year’s resolution I am making this year which likewise came in the hushed whisper of a still, small voice.
This year, my sole resolution is to put first the things of the kingdom of heaven. There are no specific goals such as taking dinner to five people every month or sending twenty cards to non-actives. The only specific part of this resolution is to do those things that will enable my ability to hear the tiny voice that speaks to both heart and head and offers, among other things, direction.
I am amazed at how much peace I have as I contemplate this resolution, so different from years past when I have felt the pressure of performance. I also feel a sense of adventure about it, as if I were at a new trailhead ready to take my first steps into unknown terrain. Where will it take me?
Tomorrow, we begin a new year. I look back at 2007 and find it filled with drama, adventure, grief and joy. It has been full, and I believe, as I have read the essays of my ANWA sisters, fully lived. To us all I wish the best for 2008.