A Question on Christmas…
It’s that time of the year. Holidays, Mistletoe, Cakes & Family Dinners. Life’s enduring moments, if I might say so. It’s the time of the year when you get together with your family; thank the Almighty for his blessings and all that He has given you and pray that He continues to do so, a time of prayer, gratitude and reflection. It’s Christmas and the New Year’s just round the corner!
My favourite memory of Christmas will always be the midnight and early morning mass at the Cathedral, when I was at school in Pondicherry. Father Paul’s cheerful and comforting figure at the altar, celebrating the arrival of Christ, in the timeless traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, a picture that’ll remain engraved in my mind forever. Father Paul’s gone since then and I’m now doing my Masters, but so rich is the memory that I can hear his deep baritone in my head, reciting verse from the Holy Bible. A memory is an awesome thing, isn’t it?
The New Year is also the time when we make our resolutions for the next year. When we tell ourselves we are gonna do this, we are gonna do that and then end up doing well, nothing! Well, I pretty much know what I have to do. It’s been a bad year for me and I’ve ended up screwing things up both for me and the people I care about, in more ways than one. For me to become better as a person, I’ve to change a few things about myself. I’ve realised that, not because I’m smart or anything, but because I’ve learnt it the hard way. And you know what, the hard way isn’t fun! In fact, it’s downright painful.
The problem with the resolutions we make is that they are always things to be done. Like I’m gonna lose a few kilos or I’m gonna scrape my grade above 7 or that I’m gonna be more systematic in my work. Or they are always how the things have to be done. Like I’m gonna hit the gym or that I’m gonna study every day or that I’m gonna use Post-It notes to myself, for each of the things I mentioned earlier. Great resolutions, right? We know what we’re gonna do and how we’re gonna do it. Problem solved. Resolution achieved.
Wrong. That is the reason why most of us never stick to the resolutions we make. For each of the above, a deeper question was never answered, the most important question of them all. And that question is, Why. I mean, you gotta know why you have the resolution in the first place. Why do you wanna lose weight? Why do you want a grade of 7? Why do you want to be more systematic in your work? They have different answers for different people, sometimes radically different, but without answering this question, the resolution will remain just that, a resolution.
Life’s answers are not in the Whats and Hows. They are in the Whys. Everyone has a reason to live, to do what they do and how they do it. If you know you love someone, you know what you have to do – make them feel special & you know how you have to do that – give them a huge bouquet of Roses on Valentine’s Day. But all this will be obvious only if you know that one underlying truth, the reason, the Why. And in this case, the why is simple, you love him or her. I write this blog. Why do I do it? Because it’s my own small way of trying to change the world, by making people think.
So at a special time of the year, I think it’s time we figured out our reasons for doing the things that we do. It might help us see our actions in a different light, it might help us take better decisions and steer clear of those things which we do without any reason whatsoever. It will put things in perspective, what’s most important to us and what’s not. It might change the way we do things this New Year. And yes, it most certainly will help us achieve the resolutions we make.
I know what I want this new year. But more importantly, I know why I want it. Do you?
It’s half past five on Christmas, 2010, and as the sun rises on a beautiful morning, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very very Happy New Year…