And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
As I have said before, each month when I set out to write this letter, I study the stories and try, not to introduce them here, but to weave them into these words, use them to illustrate a tone. It gives me a new journey after the regimentation of editorial deadlines and photo shoots.
But not this issue, not this January, not this year.
Each January, we make a list, of resolutions: Lose Weight, Eat Better, Exercise More… each are splendid and well meaning, but for many of us, and our resolutions, January is a bit like Groundhog Day: each year we set out to do the same thing…and perhaps not reaching our goals is okay, because we can always begin again.
But each January, and each moment for that matter, we can look far beyond a list we may forget, and on to the goals and hopes we can attain. As great and rich as our lives have been, the world ahead of us needs our attention and a focus unlike many of us have never given. Challenges, of community, of faith, of mortality, are everywhere. Issues that divide find headlines while those that connect us go unnoticed. We find satisfaction in a moment of giving, but find no time for a future of commitment.
Last month, we said goodbye to my sweet and little dog, Maris. For the second time in three months, we lost a piece of our lives. Maris was 9 years old and left behind when she came into my life, and we never looked back. You all know, we were inseparable; and I am bereft, and I am now orphaned. It was always amazing to me that a dog just forgotten could become so memorable. In My Dog Skip, Willie Morris recounts his father saying, “Dogs are just a heartbreak waiting to happen.” Yes, they are. And the ache lingers.
We are all, dog and human, loved and needed, loving and needy. Each day we give and take, with friend and enemies, with family and stranger, with longing and reality. Loss and love, promise and commitment, inauguration and denouement: all invade us. They give us life and meaning and compunction, and, yes, resolve.
This is not a thing of lists; it is a promise of commitment. Something said that if not attended to is tragic. Resolution is not something that might be done; it is something that must be done. A list of one thing accomplished is far better…and perhaps that should be our resolution this year: I will do this one thing, and only then will I add another, and then another, and then another.
Life, and love, and compassion are like that: one thing after another, dealt with and built upon, challenging and fulfilling, expected and surprise. But it can’t be avoided. Maris had that life: 9 years and forgotten; 6 years and remembered forever. We never know when our difference will be made, but we know it will be done.
This January and for each day ahead let us resolve to find connection, to seek truth, to know love, and to be more.
Happy New Year!