Coming up on New Year’s, I’m more than ready to kiss 2020 a not-so-fond farewell and look forward to a brighter year ahead — 2021 — with, we all hope, relief from the coronavirus pandemic, an economic revival, and much-needed healing from the wounds of partisan strife.
If you are into making New Year’s resolutions, here are some gambits from song lyrics, scripture and notable quotables that may help you think creatively, and with a pinch of good humor thrown in for good measure.
“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” Thank you, Maya Angelou, for starting us off.
Spotted on a wood plaque on the porch of a friend in Chesapeake, Ohio: “Let us be silent so that we may hear the whisper of God.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Sufi wisdom: “Let love lead your soul. Make it a place to retire to, a kind of monastery cave, a retreat for the deepest core of your being.” — Attar of Nishapur.
Often quoted but always worth remembering, from a towering figure in the Christian faith: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” — John Wesley.
From a song refrain based on Psalm 23: “Those who love justice will dwell in the House of the Lord.”
Twinning up with the previous, a quote from a pope I had the privilege of covering while I worked at The Associated Press Rome bureau, Paul VI: “If you want peace, work for justice.”
Spotted on a lighted billboard at Wendy’s, U.S. 60 at the 29th Street exit of Interstate 64: “Kindness is a gift everyone can afford.”
On the lighter side, seen lettered in silver across the black (frontside) top of a fortyish blonde woman in the Chase Bank parking lot downtown Huntington: “Cleverly disguised as an adult.”
If you’ve ever wondered what you can expect from God and what you should expect from yourself, try this longstanding slogan of the Jesuits: “Work as if everything depended upon you. Pray as if everything depended upon God.”
Which leads straight to Gal. 5:6 — “What matters is faith that works through love.” (One of my absolute favorite lines in the entire Bible!)
Some “out there” advice from the late wonderful columnist Molly Ivins of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram but syndicated into many papers: “Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce.”
And a gently scolding word from another distaff pundit, Carol Burnett: “If someone tells you that you cannot do something, and you believe them, they are right.”
A recent fortune cookie I opened made me smile. “Dessert CAN make you happy,” it said.
A sad sendoff to three who died late in the year we’re just leaving: actor Sean Connery, the first and quintessential James Bond, whom I chanced to interview while at AP Rome; breakthrough black country and western icon Charley Pride (who died of COVID-19), and one of the best authors and finest human beings I ever worked with at Publishers Place, Milton native — and lately of Morgantown — Dwight Harshbarger. His historical fiction gem “Witness at Hawks Nest” won book-of-the year honors in 2011 from the West Virginia Library Association.
Finally, let us never forget: “The day you die will be like any other — except shorter.”