A Fresh Start Can Make All the Difference in the World

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

               I love books.  I have read most of the books on my office shelves.  I also enjoy reading book titles as I peruse the bargain book tables, where once in a while I will come across a book that has the potential to be a gem, but was never able to make its best-seller mark in the literary world.  One such book I found a few years, and I have read it a couple of times since.  As I recall, I purchased the book for less than five dollars.  I have other books by the same author, but I had never heard of this one:  If Only, by David A. Seamands.  The descriptive subtitle reads, “Moving Beyond Blame to Belief.”

Those two words, if only, are filled with regret and blame, and we say them, or at least believe them, often in life.  We are prone in our culture to see ourselves as victims, leading us to rationalize our failures and behaviors by placing the blame elsewhere.

As we enter a new year, 2012, there is no magic in the turning of a calendar page, but we do acknowledge it as an opportunity of hope, a new beginning to a better and brighter day.  Do you recall the days of your childhood when the first day of a new school year arrived?  For some of us it meant new clothes, new shoes, new notebooks, new pencils, new lunch box, new teacher, new friends – – it created a positive attitude and made school fun – – at least for a little while!  I especially remember those years when I went to that first day of school in anticipation of learning something that the older kids already knew, such as cursive writing and multiplication tables.  I was determined and excited.

Similarly, this new year is a time for each of us to start fresh.  In the Bible, the apostle Paul expressed these thoughts, “One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which we were called heavenward in Christ Jesus…”  He does not mean that we try to erase the past from our memory, but that we refuse to live in the past or to be bound by it; rather, we learn from it in order that our present and future can be better.

Let’s take this opportunity of a new year to rise above the “if onlys” of our lives, choosing to live responsibly for our deeds.  May we live not only for ourselves, but also for those around us, determined to brighten our world.  In 1970, singer Glen Campbell released the album, “Try A Little Kindness.”[1]  The title song calls the listener to promote peace and goodness as a lifestyle.

If you see your brother standing by the road with a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed,

The kindness that you show every day will help someone along their way.

You’ve got to try a little kindness, show a little kindness.

Shine your light for everyone to see.


Shining the light of kindness, have a great 2012!

[1] United Recording Studio and Capitol Recording Studio, Hollywood, January 1970.c

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