Junious Ricardo Stanton
“I believe that hell and heaven that are depicted in the Bible are descriptive of a condition of the human spirit. Hell is to be cut off from God and his presence. Heaven is to be with God… I believe in sowing and reaping and reward and punishment in life. The extent to which the moral law operates beyond death is not ours to know.” Dr. Howard Thurman, African-American theologian and minister.
I extend season’s greetings to each of you and wish happy holidays to you and yours. As we end this tumultuous year let us not only reflect on what we lost, as significant as that may have been, but also on what we learned, what we gained and how it has made us stronger, more resilient, more resourceful and hopeful. As we end this year looking forward to a new one, count your blessings and examine yourself to find the good and contemplate how we may expand and extend that good to others especially those who are grieving, mourning, suffering and who may be depressed and losing hope.
Yeshua Ben Joseph said, “Repent the Kingdom of God is at hand.” The Greek word in the Christian Bible for the concept of repentance is metanoia; we see the prefix meta which means to change or go beyond and noia which means mind or heart. Metanoia then means to change your mind. It really means changing the way you think so thoroughly it results in a complete change in attitudes, thinking and personality, thereby effecting a quantum change in you. This is not about religion, doctrine or dogma, it is about changing our perspectives and our heart.
What does this have to do with the holiday season or what we’ve been through this year you ask? Everything; in life it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we deal with what happens to us. Adversity is a part of living. No one escapes the vicissitudes of life, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune the ups and downs of living. We all experience trials, setbacks, obstacles and troubles some of our own making. We’ve all experienced the good days and the joys of living. We tend to focus on the “bad” that happens to us not realizing they are the tests that make us stronger and wiser. These challenges provide the gumption and determination to keep on keepin’ on during the tough times.
The only people with no problems that we know of are in the cemetery. Life means experiencing, facing and dealing with adversity. When we look back on our lives we’ll see we’ve overcame many trials and problems. We remember we have the resources to cope; all we have to do is change our minds and change how we look at things. Changing our minds will not alter our circumstances but it will help us see our situation in a different light and this change will help us come up with the solutions we need when we need them.
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. We have no idea what 2021 will bring but we can face the world with confidence, enthusiasm and a positive expectancy. Don’t allow the fear mongers to get you down; don’t succumb to the hysteria about the economy or COVID. Worrying will not change a thing except maybe your blood pressure. Start now; take time to be truly thankful for the good in your life. Think about all the good things you accomplished this year despite COVID, despite the lock-downs and the insanity all around us.
Life is what you make of it; we each have agency, talents and abilities we have not fully manifested on a daily basis. Change your mind, decide to and commit to visualizing, being and actualizing the good you want to experience in the world. Make this your top priority for today and the future. When you do, you will have a happy holiday season and in the process you will be a blessing to others. Changing your mind can and will open a whole new way of living and dealing with the world.