Making a resolution to show more love – Terry Pluto

On New Year’s Eve, my mother and I would stay up until midnight. Guy Lombardo was on the black-and-white television with the rabbit-ear antenna while my father supplied his own soundtrack by snoring on the sofa during “Auld Lang Syne.”

As the ball dropped on Times Square, my mother would hug me and say, “I’m glad it’s a new year. This has to be better than last year.”

She usually had tears in her eyes as those words left her lips.

Not every year was a bad year, but my parents had a rocky marriage. I some times felt as if I was living in the middle of two tribes that had been at war for centuries. They both loved me. When it came to each other, that was a different story.

I wish my parents had made a New Year’s resolution to work on their marriage, or at least talk about their problems without screaming, slamming doors and turning the weather frigid even in July. I don’t recall praying much as a child, but I’m sure there were times when I asked God if Mommy and Daddy could fight less.

I thought about that as I read the New Year’s resolutions posted on http://www.beliefnet.com, one of my favorite Web sites. One person wanted to “attend Sunday Mass more.” Another wrote: “I need to get my linces [driver’s license] back and get my GED.”

A third had to get out of debt. A fourth, a rather thin woman in a video, said, “I need to limit my chocolate intake to twice a day.”

I appreciated the guy who wrote, “I need to talk to my family without using bad language.” He also wanted to deal with some “compulsive behaviors.” I was relieved he didn’t go into detail. There is such a thing as too much information.

All of these resolutions had merit, although some (chocolate only twice a day?) seemed a bit modest.

A woman wrote, “I have signed up to be a chemo angel and have just received my first assignment.” One of the best ways to get out of a personal funk is to find someone in worse shape – and help that person. Aiding a cancer patient will do it.

I don’t remember my mother making any resolutions. Over the years, I’ve made some, from exercising more and eating better to studying the Bible. I’m also the same guy who has said the most important thing in my life should be my relationship with God and with those who are close to me.

But how often do I make any promises about being a better friend, a better husband? I’d rather say, “I need to cut down on the Diet Pepsi.” I don’t want to think about how I can be toughest on those who love me the most, how I can show more patience with a stranger than a good friend.

I love this from 1 Peter 4, verses 7-8: “Be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to each other without grumbling.”

Good advice. Now I just have to do it.

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