The message of Christmas leaves no room for New Year’s cynicism

Back in early December, I was visiting my parents in the midst of what was considered a major ice storm in Dallas.  Though it messed up most of our plans for that weekend, it gave me a rare opportunity to spend an extended amount of uninterrupted time with my parents.  During that time, my mom and I talked about a time in our family’s past that wasn’t all that pleasant.  It involved the church in which I grew up.  It was a church my grandpa literally helped build brick by brick and a place where my parents gave years in service and love.  It was a part of our family.

Without going into too many details, when I was in high school, the church turned on my parents.  Wildly false accusations were raised against them.  Long-time friends turned their backs on us.  It got ugly.  Eventually, my parents found another church, I went on to college, and we all tried to move on.

While we did indeed move on and dealt with much greater, more important challenges in life, that time for my family was a demarcation point in my own life.  It marked a time that I no longer felt comfortable in the town where I grew up.  After that incident, I began to view the world differently.  Hope and trust in others was replaced with skepticism and cynicism. Continue reading →

Stillness: From Advent Lesson to New Year’s Resolution

It’s probably because I’m not good at keeping them, but I’m not much on New Year’s resolutions. I usually try to adjust things as the year goes on rather than keeping to some master list of goals. This year, however, it just so happens that one of the adjustments that I feel I need to make coincides with the New Year.

For much of my life, I’ve joked that I am addicted to worry and anxiety, and while said in jest, it really is true. Sometimes no matter how small or large the worry, I tend to let it consume my thoughts. That has been the case for me the last couple of months. For various reasons, my life has been filled with an unusual amount of anxiety lately. Continue reading →