A new beginning

By Bill Shepard

The Christmas tree now lies in a heap or has been packed away in a dark cellar. It is doubtful that anything depreciates in value more quickly than a Christmas tree!

A new calendar has replaced the one that hung on the wall for 12 long months. The pages are crisp and clear.

There are no markings of things to do, appointments, or reminders of any sort. It is doubtful that it remains that way for long.

The words and the letters on each new page remind us that we are on the threshold of a brand-new year!

We have been here before and some of us, more than a few times. We are familiar with the feeling. It is a time of questioning what lies ahead.

There are none wise enough to answer those questions! The finger of time beckons for us to follow and we have no choice but to follow! We buckle up for the ride and slip out into the unknown.

The road ahead leads in one direction only, straight ahead. Take a quick glance backwards, if you must, and then move on!

You are traveling over uncharted territory. Be careful, watch out for the bumps in the road. Past experiences should have taught you there will be some. Don’t let your guard down; to do so could be costly. Remember that it is the unexpected happening on any journey that causes us the most trouble!

I recall an incident many years ago, when I was a young soldier. We were scheduled for a long march and were to carry a full “field pack.” Fully packed, it would weigh approximately 60 pounds.

I decided I would cheat a little and lighten my load. Among the items I would leave out of my pack was my raincoat. No one would ever know, so I thought. A few miles into the march, it began to rain. The order was given to halt and put on our raincoats, before continuing on.

The unexpected had happened. There I stood, shaking with being wet from the rain and the fear of what lay ahead. The sergeant came along, inspecting to see that all had their raincoats on.

I was indeed a spectacle, one in a long line. I was allowed to ride inside the ambulance that always was near, when such marches were made. I paid for being caught by serving KP duty for a full week.

On your journey ahead, do not be caught lacking the things you are most likely to need or some things you might just have chosen to leave behind – those that might have been extra weights through the past year.

Leave behind any old prejudices that have been collected along with the jealousies and envying. Those little eaters can show up unexpectedly and spoil your travels.

Refuse to allow unkind thoughts of others a hiding place in your mind. Refuse to carry a load of self-guilt another day on your journey.

Forgiveness is a must and that for others and for self! Having taken these from your pack, your load should be lightened already!

Now, you should have more room for the following items you are sure to be in need of. Take with you a large supply of kindness! Folk you meet along your journey may not understand the things you say, but they will understand the way you say it.

One last resolve for your journeys ahead – be happy!

True happiness must come from within. It is not dependent upon the things that we possess or the things about us. It depends on the faith we have in the One that brought us to our journey!

Good luck in your travels. Straight ahead – 2020!

Author: Rachel Howell

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