Renew, refresh and get to work

Published 5:55 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Now that the ball has dropped on Times Square to usher in another year, it is time for us to refresh, renew and go to work.

I don’t necessarily mean back to our jobs — unless referring to our government — but back to work to update our outlook on life, our relationships and our nation.  Every new day of this new year is an opportunity to improve on those things that bugged the heck out of us in 2018.

An excellent example of how not to renew our thinking or refresh our outlook is to study the dysfunction in Washington.  There you will find the lawmakers who have sat in their chairs too long, don’t listen to one another, aren’t willing to compromise or work together for the good of all America citizens. 

This past year gave me the willies because of the behavior of many Americans who became just like those dysfunctional politicians when discussing their liberal or conservative views.  Are we willing to accept that it is okay to bully each other when it comes to how another votes or lives? Folks, this is America, and if it is to remain a democracy, the citizens have a right to vote their beliefs and should never be demeaned for doing so. 

As I said before, if our battles put us in non-compromising corners, then we will shut down just like our government. 

We could all work to improve our rhetoric and understanding of another’s position without harming friendships or family ties. Our relationships are not built on politics but by our willingness to love unconditionally. God does not judge us by how we vote, but how we love.

I have no idea who my best friend voted for in the last election. Even if she chose differently than I, it doesn’t alter or change my opinion of one of the most delightful people I know. What she and I both do inside that cubicle is our clear right as an American citizen.

We must get to work to improve our country’s mental health. We are a community of people who roll up our sleeves and help one another.  We are not a nation who lets those in power lead us onto a path of bad behavior and unkindness. 

We could help our country get to work by taking on a workload of our own for the welfare of America. I cannot tell you how many times I have received emails from people broadcasting a doctrine that when researched was not accurate or taken out of context. Now that is fake news. So, quit doing it. We hurt each other when we proclaim untruths, therefore, spreading more hatred across this great land.

Simon and Garfunkel recorded a song in 1970 titled “The Boxer.” There is a line in the first verse, which I often hear playing in my memory. “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” Are we becoming a nation of listening and aligning to those who only believe as we do, or should we return to be the nation that can still be open to respectful, nonjudgmental dialog and discussion? 

We will always have political discord and crazy contentious elections, and we will continue to have different opinions. However, we must not let those opinions become narrow-minded and elitist. We are the independent, free thinkers of a free America. We should never lose sight of the fact that is who we are, what we are and we must absolutely fight for our right to continue to be so.

Let’s all stop the trash talking vitriol and live to make God happier, and when we do, our nation will start to heal the great divide. Let’s clean and clear our thinking, our hearts and souls. Let’s renew.

All Americans need each other in countless ways. To those who suffer from depression, we need to offer help. To those who need change, spare a dollar. To those who need a smile, give a laugh. To those who need understanding, listen. Let’s become the trustees of fellowship and kindness, and I guarantee we will all be refreshed and renewed because that’s the way the whole enchilada of life works. 

I reckon I am an eternal optimist who believes in the goodness of mankind. However, every now and then, we need a pep talk. We can all work together to increase goodness and lesson judgmental behavior in countless ways that will not only improve ourselves but those we call our fellow neighbors, citizens, family, friends and make the world a better place for those children who rely on us to lead.

Renew, refresh and get to work. It’s a brand-new year.